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The "Mirror" of Lent

The scene of the temptation, which opens the public life of Jesus, declares in the Gospels in a very forceful manner the great change in our lives that He introduces into the world by His work of redemption.

A reflection from Father Tudgay for the First Sunday of Lent.

I recently stopped by Lowes and picked up a few new lightbulbs for my bathroom. I had a few bulbs that were out above my sink and the one’s that weren’t, were old, incandescent bulbs. Let me tell you… replacing old lightbulbs with crisp, new LED’s and looking into the mirror with new, fresh light, brought the fact that I’m 40 into stark reality! We’ve all had those moments. Or, when we change the lightbulbs in a room, that allows us to spot previously unseen cobwebs or dust bunnies. Light can be painful. And while the inevitability of aging has an unpreventable effect on our appearance, our souls possess an elasticity, always capable of a youthful rejuvenation. When the light of God’s grace puts our soul on display in the mirror of our imagination, the need for nourishment, leading to transformation, carries us from despair to hope. Lent is one, large spiritual mirror. The longer we peer into it, the more intensely we receive God’s love and grace, the more the image begins to reflect Christ. 


“The Kingdom of God is at hand”, we’re told in this weekend’s Gospel passage. “Repent”, we’re told, “and Believe” in the good news that is being proclaimed. “Metanoew”, translated as “repent” is, literally, to observe a new way of thinking or to look at the world differently, resulting a change of heart. This word that Jesus uses as he begins his mission is the invitation to embrace an entirely new view of reality, itself, which springs from belief in God. The very image in which we are created comes to us, to begin his mission among us, to reshape our way of thinking so that we can, literally, see God’s presence in our own lives and in the world around us. 


Now, back to the mirror. Aging, like all things, is inevitable. The human soul, because of Original Sin, is also subject to fatigue, which affects our overall well-being. Lent is the opportunity where our faith is deepened by taking a sobering look in the mirror at the areas where the transformative power of Christian Hope is waiting to be discovered. The nourishment that this season provides rehydrates the fatigue that sets in due to the sins that accumulate or the stresses that weigh us down. In short, any aspect of our mind, heart, and soul that is isolated from Jesus Christ and the grace of the Church’s Sacraments, can age the soul prematurely, weighing it down, leading us into despair.  


The new way of thinking that we are invited to embrace this season stems from our encounter with Jesus Christ when we look into the spiritual mirror and allow ourselves to be gazed upon with transformative love. At first glance, we might be horrified by what we see. That’s ok. Over time, though, the restorative power of God in our lives creates an outlook on life that is uniquely the result of Christian joy and hope. 

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