The book of Joel speaks of “rending your heart.” In looking this up, it really means conversion. There are many definitions of conversion, too numerous to call out, but the most useful one is transformation. As we enter Lent, we are in a time of transformation.
As a young niece I was charged with accompanying my School Sisters of Notre Dame aunt to the Church where she was going to spend the three hours of Good Friday. I was told I didn’t have to stay; well, that just spurred me on to stay the three hours (stubborn!). As I thought about it, that was a time of transformation and gave me a new appreciation of the significance of those three hours and what they meant to me.
Conversion or transformation affects us in many ways as a community of faith-filled people – whether a parish, a family or a group of committed Christians. It is a good time to ask, “What can we do to make a difference this Lent as a community group whether in prayer, service or almsgiving?” This is a good beginning of a community practice toward transformation. It is a time of action to honor our merciful God and the challenges He brings to us.
As I reflect further on my own transformation, I need to find those special Lenten prayers that make a difference in my life; whether Blessed Bishop Basil Moreau’s writings, the gospels of Mark, the writings of St. Vincent de Paul and lastly, the latest writings and homilies of our Holy Father Pope Francis.
In terms of transforming my service time, it is a good examination of what I can do as an individual this Lenten Season. I cannot do what I once did, but there are many things I can in terms of service toward or with others. All I need to do is observe and match what I am able to do with what needs to be done. It does not have to be much but something that will be helpful to another. Every little bit goes a long way and just may help open our eyes to the many needs out there.
Lastly, along comes transformation in terms of fasting. As we continue to go down the path of aging, it is apparent that there are limitations. Some of what could be done is now a memory of rich moments of doing something significant along the lines of fasting ~ not so much right now but enough to stay in touch with the conversion process.
The Book of Micah says: “You have been told, O mortal, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NAB). May we all see what path the good God is leading us down this Lent so that our Easter will truly be a transformed life.