As we approach February 18, which is “Ash Wednesday,” we are reminded that this is a time for spiritual rebirth.
The Lenten season, taken from the tradition of reflection during the season when days grow longer and spring manifests, is comprised of 40 days not including the Sundays before Easter. This 46-day period, beginning this Wednesday, is the time to plant new seeds of transformation – regardless of our faith. Some observers focus on what they would like to release in the revitalization of their human consciousness. Some choose to renew their religious commitment to salvation through daily devotion. Some realize that superficial sacrifices are merely preludes to becoming quiet enough to hear the still small voice of God everywhere.
When I listen, I know that this season – like every pivotal point in our lives – is not merely about depriving our diets of sugar or flesh or about foregoing the pleasure of those activities that we tend to idolize. No, denying ourselves a few worldly pleasures only to return to them after Lent would be far too easy. Lent is for the regeneration of eternal commitment. This is the season to clean the debris of guilt, remorse or fear with such a deep understanding of God’s grace that yesterday’s sins never return.
Listening is the process of receptivity – opening oneself wide enough to allow the soul to journey unencumbered. So the question is not merely what we are willing to forego, but whether we are willing to listen. This process of listening spring-cleans the soul so that our spiritual growth expands beyond the suppression of desire to the resurrection of the Christ within.
In his book, Keep a True Lent, Charles Fillmore guides us on the “true fast,” which is the secret place of communing with God – not for asking but for knowing that the kingdom is neither here nor there but is right in our midst.
Let us gather in the kingdom together over the course of these 46 days – not to wear deprivation as a mark of accomplishment but to know that the love of God penetrates our lives to demonstrate the absolute good that is always present.
Each daily meditation and reflection will help us cleanse the old and allow the Holy Spirit to shine through.