On Ash Wednesday my forehead was itchy due to the ashes, irritating, reminding me it was Lent. I have been irritable for days, feeling the coming change of season. I always find Lent hard. Fasting finds out all my weaknesses and I am not overly keen on the journey to the Cross. This year, however, despite my irritability things seems different. Already there is something about communion. A few weeks ago I noticed in the gospel about Peter’s mother-in-law, how Jesus went off to pray alone; to be in communion with his Father. The readings about Jesus’ time in the wilderness have the same feeling. In the past, I have always assumed that Jesus went into the desert to be tempted. Reading it this year I wonder whether it isn’t more that Jesus was called into the lonely places to spend time with his Father and the ‘father of lies’ took his chance to draw Jesus on another path.
The A and B materials focus on communion with Christ. This Lent I can see the communion of the Trinity and I also discover communion with Christ, through my walk with Jesus to Golgotha and onto the Resurrection. The materials also look at communion among the believers, the Body of Christ, here on Earth today and the communion of Saints. Contemplation of the unity at the heart of the Trinity and the Pascal mystery leads to a developing communion for me as an individual and for me as a member of the Body of Christ. We are all caught up into this communion.
So where does this leave my irritability? To walk with Christ I have to let go of the other things, which I put my security in and that makes me vulnerable. I have my own choices to face this Lent. How closely do I walk with Jesus? To enter into communion I have to face my temptations, weaknesses and ‘comfort blankets’ and leave them behind. Not all of them, but just the ones God shows me this Lent. I have to choose as if I am free from them already. Choose to be with Jesus in all that He faces. Last year I avoided it. What of this Lent? A version of the Anima Christi we have been using as a family this week has these lines:
“Let me not run from the love which you offer.
But hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your light and your love.”
This is my prayer this Lent and who knows, praying it daily might lessen my irritability.