by Neil Mibus
Lent is a good time for a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, and as it’s a poor inventory that’s done all in red ink, I want to look at both my strengths and weaknesses, what I’ve done right and what I’ve done wrong, not to mention the rights and wrongs I’ve not done. I don’t think it’s a time to beat myself up, more like a time to get better acquainted with myself.
While that may be an interesting exercise in self- awareness, there’s more to it.
Lent is also preparation for Easter and if Easter is about being saved I’d like to know from what, as well as for what. My inventory will help me answer from what and I already know for what, namely doing what I can to help make God’s kingdom a reality. Here my inventory can help me see how I can best do that, what strength or talent or ability (or weakness or lack or inability) God has given me to work with. The kingdom of God after all, sometimes called the kingdom of Heaven, was Jesus’ main message.
Lent is also preparation for Easter as being about new life and new beginnings, so I’d like to know what strengths I have to use, as well as weaknesses I can work on, to help make the most of that new life and to make it worth living. I want the abundant life Jesus promised when he said “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”, and I know that while in this quest God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, by the same token God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves. So once again what is my role, and what strength or talent or ability (or weakness or lack or inability) has God given me to work with.
Lent and Easter of course are not all about me. To the extent that I make it my business to help make God’s kingdom a reality I want to invite other people in too. How best can I do this? To the best of my ability I try to live in a way that night make someone else say “I want what he has”. Here again my inventory will help point me in the right way. Sure, I can talk about God and the Kingdom and all, but here two useful sayings come to mind. The first is an old folk saying; Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying. The second may also be an old folk saying but is often attributed to St. Francis; Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.