We NEED Lent
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Why do we need Lent? One answer is provided in the first reading in Mass today. The passage from the Book of Genesis recounts the “fall of man,” what has come to be known as the sin of Adam, or, more commonly, “original sin”. Lent is a tool that the Church offers us to grow deeper in our relationship with Christ and helps us counter the effects of original sin.
Only by the truth that God has revealed through divine Revelation (Scripture and Tradition) can we come to know the horror of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind’s origins. Without divine revelation, we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God affords us, freedom that enables us to become capable of loving Him and loving one another rightly. Sin is an offense against God, against love of others and against the divinely given purpose for our lives.
The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses symbolic and poetic language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. The whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents. Thus, every person is now born in a state which lacks sanctifying grace (the saving life of God within), i.e. not being in right relationship with God. Baptism — which bestows on us the merits of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection — reverses that, fills our souls with sanctifying grace and justifies us before God. However, the effects of original sin remain, thus our intellect is darkened, the human will is weakened and we have an inclination toward committing sin.
God sent His only begotten Son to undo the eternal damage of original sin, and Jesus established a Church to minister to His disciples and offer spiritual help, the sacraments and spiritual practices, that enable people to overcome the effects of original sin and grow in holiness. The season of Lent is an annual opportunity for us to engage in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It invites us to make renewed recourse to the Sacraments, especially Confession. That is why we need Lent.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,