Tear Down the Rebellious - the power of Lent

For many, Lent is the welcome call to the conscience to lay aside the habitual attraction to sin, laziness, and excess.  It is a call to the Christian soul in the materialistic world to remember the purpose to his life:  that he is an exile - he is a pilgrim navigating along a dangerous road - that he is a citizen of another world.

Lent is the time to do battle with evil spirits and with our fallen nature.  The blessing on the ashes for Ash Wednesday states it plainly, asking God that, "as we do battle with the spirits of evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial."
Lent is the time when we realize that we walk in a desert valley filled with serpents, whose bite is indeed deadly.  In this valley is also the offer of healing and transformation.  If we but look upon the Son of Man, lifted up before us on the Cross, we can be healed.
Lent is the time when we join ourselves, in penance and prayer, with the One who has crushed the serpent.  Through the gift of His holy Cross, He bestows on those, who take up the way of penance, the grace and power to crush every serpent that comes against us.

The power to dispel and to crush the wiles of Satan is given to us through the Sacraments and sacramentals.  
But this power is not to be utilized solely against the powers of evil, for we have another enemy, just as dangerous - another rebel seeking our destruction:  ourselves.

We have each walked through this desert valley filled with serpents and have been stung by their bite.  Wounded by this poison, we have gone astray, each to his own way, departing from the way illuminated by the Cross.  In so doing, we have trained our fallen nature to hate the way of God and prefer the way of death.

The rebelliousness of our nature must be undone.  The serpents must be crushed.  The Cross must be embraced.  If we hear the Voice of the Shepherd and come near to the Church as she presents the healing Cross to us this holy Lent, we will be healed of the serpent's poison and made strong in the grace of salvation.

As the Church prays on Ash Wednesday, Our Lord will bestow upon us His healing pardon if we, like the Ninevites, do penance in sackcloth and ashes.

Hold fast.  Fight and be free.


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