Lent is a season for remembering. On Ash Wednesday, we received the blessed
ashes along with the solemn exhortation to remember that we are dust and
to dust we shall return. Our Lenten journey reminds us of many other important
truths, culminating on Easter Sunday in the glorious remembrance that Jesus
Christ truly has been raised from the dead. That was the gospel St. Paul
preached and urged Timothy to remember (2 Tim. 2), and it is our gospel,
too. We preach it best by our lives, and remembering helps us to do so.
What does it mean to remember? According to the dictionary, it means to keep a person in mind with some feeling of pleasure, gratitude, etc.; to bear in mind; to keep in memory; to be careful not to forget. In a special way during Lent, we remember with great joy and humble gratitude Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We are careful not to forget how He lived His life to the fullest and freely laid it down on the Cross for us, in loving obedience to our Father's will. We bear in mind the concrete examples He gave us of how to serve one another, to be kind, generous and forgiving, to be gentle and humble of heart.
Often during Lent we seek out the Sacrament of Penance. As we surrender our sinfulness to our saving Lord, we hear Him say to us as He did to the man who had been sick for 38 years, "Remember, now, you have been cured" (Jn. 5). The prayer of the penitent thief hanging on the cross becomes ours as we also beg, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom!" (Jn. 23), and we experience Paradise in remembering and receiving God's forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. We sing a new song of joy and confidence: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits!" (Ps. 103)
Then the Lord turns to us and, giving us His precious Body and Blood to be our food and drink, asks us to do this in remembrance of Him. We pray with the Church: "Father, accept this offering from your whole family in memory of the day when Jesus Christ, our Lord, gave the mysteries of His body and blood for His disciples to celebrate." Our remembering becomes a celebration of faith -- "we remember, we celebrate, we believe." Thus we are sent forth to proclaim the Easter gospel, being careful never to forget that our Risen Lord is with us always, even to the end of time. To Him be all praise and glory! Alleluia!
Alice Claire Mansfield
© March 1994