Let’s move beyond Lent as a time to give up. Lent is a time when we are challenged to wake up to the presence of God in our daily lives.

One of the intellectual beliefs we share is that God is everywhere. The problem is that in many ways we sleepwalk through that belief. We do not seem to live out of an awareness of God’s presence.

We are like Adam and Eve in the Garden. They did not realize or really believe that God was everywhere in the Garden.

In his Lenten Letter, The Word is a gift. Other persons are a Gift, Pope Francis writes

Lazarus teaches us that other persons are a gift. A right relationship with people consists in gratefully recognizing their value. Even the poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but a summons to conversion and to change. The parable first invites us to open the doors of our heart to others because each person is a gift, whether it be our neighbour or an anonymous pauper. Lent is a favourable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ. Each of us meets people like this every day. Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable. But in order to do this, we have to take seriously what the Gospel tells us about the rich man.
He goes on to offer three suggestions for waking up to God’s presence in our lives: rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters

During the coming weeks of Lent, we will present reflections rooted in his letter and centered on the theme “Lent – waking up to God with Pope Francis and St. Vincent”.

As we prepare for the beginning of Lent, we might ask ourselves three questions related to Francis’ suggestions.
  1. Am I aware of the gift of God’s word and how do I treasure it?
  2. What are the sins that blind me?
  3. In what ways am I echoing an age-old evasive question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”