In his invitation to a holy Lent, “The Grace of Lent,” Bishop Johnston outlines 12 take-away messages from the sermons of St. Leo the great as a different way to experience the Lenten season.

  1. Lent is a time of spiritual combat, exercises in self-control, and mastery over temptation and self. [I know, this sounds like the regular stuff, but please read on.]
  2. Lent is characterized by confidence in spiritual victory through grace.
  3. A resolute donning of the Christian spiritual armor (see Ephesians 6:11-17).
  4. Do not focus only on the temptations of the flesh, but also on the more subtle temptations of the mind (such as pride and anger).
  5. Lent is a time of struggle, but this is because the tempter will seek to regain what he has, in fact, lost.
  6. The 40 days of special discipline is an opportunity for personal growth, but this “growth” must be reflected in outward goodness and good effects upon others. [Disciplines like losing weight, giving up candy, etc., are not really living into Lent’s purpose if they are only self-directed. All disciplines should be re-examined as to their purpose and actual effects. Ask yourself, “Is my Lenten discipline only about me?]
  7. Use Lent to find new and better harmony in family life: become better spouses, better parents, better children.
  8. Develop a lasting new purity in thought and in personal relationships.
  9. Confront self-righteousness and hypocrisy in religious life. See these things for what they are, and learn where they are likely to show up in your life.
  10. Focus on adapting yourself to the needs and duties of changing circumstances. Make sure that you have been doing this, and are prepared to do so in the future.
  11. Lent is, above all, a time of reconciliation – for penitents to be reconciled to the Church, and for individuals to establish forgiveness and charity with each other.
  12. The joy of redemption, imparted at baptism and celebrated at Easter, is anticipated and renewed in the Lenten season.

Posted by The Diocese

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