THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
By DR. JUN YNARES
“What’s the best way to observe the Lenten season?”
This was the question I was asked by a good number of people last week. It seems they are already making plans for just more than 40 days from today. I believe they expected me to suggest that they include a visit to Antipolo during this season.
I remember being asked this question a couple of years ago by a fellow Antipoleño. I sensed that he wanted me to share with him the activities I had lined up for myself and my family in observance of this solemn season.
I remember giving him this answer: at this time, I plan to “just listen.”
I plan to “just listen” to the soft voice of the heart and the conscience. By doing so, I hope to understand fully and in a deeper way the meaning of “Lent” and the meaning of “being lent.”
I was told that the word “Lent” as used by the Church was derived from the old English reference to the season of spring. This must have been because this 40-day period happens during that part of the year following winter and preceding summer as experienced in Western countries.
I guess one can look at this Church season as an invitation to rediscover one’s own “Spring”.
So, at this time, one may ask oneself: What is it in my life that needs a “spring”?
Spring is a season associated with “fresh.” “Newness.” A “new beginning.”
A good Lenten reflection, therefore, could be this: What are the things in my life that needs to be made fresh? To be made new? To be given a new beginning?
In some Western countries, people do what is called “spring cleaning.” It usually means clearing up a cluttered closet, and throwing out things that are old and which are no longer useful.
This Lenten season, one may ask oneself: What are the areas of my life that need “de-cluttering”? What are the things I have needlessly amassed and which have now led to a crowding of my life, leaving little or no space at all the people and things that really matter?
For me, this “spring” season in the Church calendar will be guided by a powerful “springtime” verse from the Bible: “Anyone who is in Christ is a New Creation; the old has passed away, the new has come.”
I believe that such is the promise of Lent — that one can be “re-created.” Can be made new. Fresh. Whole again. Given the chance for a new beginning.
“Lent” may also mean to be given something on a “borrowed” basis. So, this season is for thinking of and being thankful for the many things in life that have been given to us on a “borrowed” basis. The things in life that have simply been “lent” to us.
Among them are our friends, family, loved ones. Our career, possessions, wealth.
Time is also just borrowed.
Life itself has just been “lent” to us.
I guess this is why the season of Lent begins with a reminder that life has been given to us on a “borrowed” basis: “Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
There are two things one must do when one is set to return that which has simply been lent to him: first is to give an accounting of how it was used; second is to return that which has been lent in exactly the same state in which it was borrowed – or better.
I believe that is exactly what Lent allows us to do — to reflect on how we are to give an accounting of how our life was used long before we are supposed to return it.
Will it pass the “good and faithful servant” standards as set by the Word of God in Scripture?
Lastly, Lent would be a perfect time to reflect on one more reality: that we, too” have been “lent” to others.
We have been “lent” to the people in our lives.
Anything “lent” always serves as a reminder of the nature and character of the “lender” – in this particular case, God, our Creator.
Lent, therefore, provides the opportunity to ask ourselves how we have so far represented God, our Loving Father, in the lives of the people, organizations, and communities to whom we have been “lent.”
The anniversary of the EDSA Revolution is also being marked this week. We will all be reminded that this is a non-violent revolution which the world once admired.
It was mostly a political revolution. It marked a “radical change” in the leadership of the country. “Radical change” is how “revolution” is usually defined.
The Lenten season is also a time for “radical change” – for a “revolution within.” A revolution of the heart. This is one revolution that can happen only with the grace from, and the help of, the Savior whose suffering for us shall be recalled during this season.
I wish our readers a peaceful, serene, and meaningful observance of this season.
*For feedback, please email it to [email protected] or send it to #4 Horse Shoe Drive, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Bgy. Beverly Hills, Antipolo City, Rizal.