Training for Discipleship, aka Lent

 

 “Catechumens will hear the word for three years.”

So says Hippolytus, Presbyter in Rome in the 3rd Century.   As time and circumstances evolved (Constantine being the major one), this training of the Catechumens was transferred to the whole of the Church in preparation for Easter (Pascha).  Lent is a time for us to diagnose the things in us that need to die.  Far from being a time of morbid preoccupation, this dying to self actually makes us more alive and more human.  If we are owned by food, or by the need for power, or the need to be the center of the world, what kind of people could we be if we laid those things aside and became what God desires in us, the attributes of Jesus–to be truly blessed.  From Matthew 5:

3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
       4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
       5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
       6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
       7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
       8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
       9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
       10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In a world of selfishness, greed, lust, and overindulging to meet needs, maybe more than ever we need Lent.

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