The Lenten season, a period of approximately six weeks of repentance – Christians are encouraged to practice different means of expressing repentance – fasting, the giving of alms, atonement and self-denial. A Lenten discipline that many people take upon themselves is the giving up of favorite foods, entertainments or other within reach items so as to do the best they can in living out the word “sacrifice.” Whereas the above mentioned practices are fine, there is another and I think just as a good a way of going about our Lenten days. That way has to do with doing the best we can to slow down, to gradually ease off of the treadmill a good many of us are on throughout the year. One then begins to notice certain things that zoom past our line of sight when we are moving too fast. They are important things. They are the living gifts of God’s presence in our day to day lives. They are gifts that move us and form us whether we notice or not. But Lent can be a time when we allow ourselves the effort to see better what has always been there, and to hopefully learn from it. In this way, we are not so much about doing something for Lent as much as being someone in Lent, being a more peaceful and attentive person.
Father James Behrens, O.C.S.O.