Give of your Precious Time this Lent
Fr Ralph de Hahn, Cape Town – It is always helpful to receive good suggestions as to how to create a fruitful and refreshing season of Lent.
The Southern Cross proposed “25 ways to live by this Lent” (March 1) while our local newspapers suggest the 23 familiar love-expressions of Mother Teresa.
These suggestions will surely help and inspire many to live a better Lent. But let us also turn to the books of sacred scripture. From experience I know that this is extremely useful in this holy season, maybe not for all but possibly for some.
It’s all very well to “give up” something, to make a sacrifice by abstaining. It could well change your lifestyle for the better. Yet, your most precious gift is your time: Give God more of your time, and he will offer you eternity.
Go out and care for his sick, the ageing, the lonely and the dying. What time you give to God and his people in need is never lost, not a single moment. It is all gain.
And since Christian living is all about growth in love, I strongly recommend the text of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. It is the perfect expression of true love, God’s kind of loving. “Love is always patient, love is always kind, love is never jealous, is never selfish, is always forgiving…” and the rest.
Now that is worthy of meditation. Take one virtue, only one a day, and seriously meditate on it, measuring your normal Christian behaviour against that one demand of Christ. It is an excellent measuring rod which could change your entire view of Christian living.
A final suggestion. We are encouraged to make the Stations of the Cross regularly, and say the rosary daily.
It is possible, and it is most stimulating and moving to use the rosary beads and meditate on the Passion of Jesus: with each bead Jesus moves on from the garden of suffering to his death on Calvary (and every station of the cross is consciously present).
The rosary comes alive and you have accomplished two wonderful devotions in, say, 30 minutes — or two hours if you so wish.
Whatever route you pursue, may God’s Spirit go with you. Have a joyful Lent.