Episode 41 – Why Lent?

Man walking in the desert Episode 41

Jake and Brett start a series on the next liturgical season and ask the question, “Why Lent?” concluding that Lent is about the restoration of sonship.

Guiding Quotes

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil…” (Matthew 4:1)

“In the desert, Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert.” (CCC 538)

Key Points

  • Sometimes we go through the motions in liturgical seasons and can lose the why behind it
  • Praying through Jesus’ time in the desert is a good focus for the season of Lent
  • “What has not been assumed has not been healed.” (St Gregory Nazianzus)
  • Sonship is what is always under attack
  • The why of Lent is whether or not we are rooted in sonship
  • We can fall into an unhealthy spiritual activism in Lent
  • “Yet ministry without spirituality, without interior life, leads to empty activism.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
  • Lent is a time of exposure that reveals what we truly love and desire
  • Lent invites us below the surface of our life and our hearts
  • The Church’s teachings are honest
  • The Church reveals us to ourselves not to shame us but to draw us back into reality
  • “Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy” (Pope Francis)
  • The three temptations of Jesus in the desert are linked to three common idols: pleasure, power (control), prestige
  • “Pleasure is not the purpose of anything; pleasure is a by-product resulting from doing something that is good. One of the best ways to get happiness and pleasure out of life is to ask ourselves, ‘How can I please God?’ and, ‘Why am I not better?’ It is the pleasure-seeker who is bored, for all pleasures diminish with repetition.” (Ven. Fulton Sheen)
  • “We must dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.” (St John of the Cross)
  • The invitation is to live Lent with purpose instead of going through the motions
  • A good reflection for Lent is “What is inhibiting my relationship with the Father?,” instead of “What am I going to give up?”
  • We can approach Lent and life with the truth that our Father is always at work and up to something good
  • Lent is “successful” if at the end we have a renewed experience of God as Father and we as sons

Discussion Questions

  • What struck you from this episode?
  • Where do you struggle with empty spiritual activism?
  • What can you do during Lent that would lead you to deeper sonship?
  • When something goes wrong, what are the first things/people you turn to? Why?
  • What are some unhealthy places you go to for life? Why is your heart attracted to that? What does that tell you about your deep desires?
  • Where are you tempted to seek pleasure, power (control), or prestige instead of trust in the Father?
  • What is inhibiting your relationship with the Father?