Since Lent comes around each year, it's hard sometimes to think of it as a spiritual journey. After all, journeys start in one place, progress, and then end in another. Yet the liturgical cycle keeps bringing us back to the starting point. If everything that goes around comes around, have we really made a spiritual journey?
The answer lies in how we make our travels. If we treat each Lent like "there's nothing new under the sun," then chances are that it will never amount to much of a spiritual journey. Our goal each year should be not only to end Lent a better person than when we began it, but to begin each Lent a better person than we were when we began Lent the previous year.
One spiritual exercise that can help us greatly in this goal is to read the Scripture readings that the Church has selected for each day of Lent. In the Office of the Readings, part of the Liturgy of the Hours (the official daily prayers of the Church), the Church presents the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt through their entrance into the Promised Land.
It's a fascinating story, filled with miracles and intrigue, the wrath of God and His love. And it's comforting, too: The Chosen People constantly backslide, blaming Moses for leading them out of the comfort of Egypt into the midst of the barren desert. Concerned with day-to-day life, they have trouble keeping their eyes on the prize: the Promised Land.
We find ourselves in the same position, losing sight of our goal of Heaven, especially in the busyness of the modern world, with all of its distractions. Yet God did not abandon His people, and He will not abandon us. All He asks is that we keep on walking.
Scripture Readings for Lent:
- Scripture Readings for Ash Wednesday Through the First Week of Lent
- Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Lent
- Scripture Readings for the Third Week of Lent
- Scripture Readings for the Fourth Week of Lent
- Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent
- Scripture Readings for Holy Week
- Tips for Lenten Reading With Your Children