Paging through magazines or watching television commercials, one discovers a popular attention getting device: the “before and after.” Advertisers use this approach to demonstrate the usefulness of their product or service.
In the “before” stage, an individual is in desperate and in obvious need of something: a diet, a different shampoo, an improved wardrobe, or perhaps a new car that will guarantee a happier and more successful life. In the “after” segment, we see a terrific change in the person thanks to the use of the product or service being offered. The transformation is obvious and attractive. The individual has a new lease on life, a new outlook, a brighter and more fulfilling future.
The season of Lent is a kind of a “before and after” advertisement that attempts to get our attention, helps us to recognize our need for spiritual renewal and offers us suggestions as to how we might transform our lives after the example of Jesus.
Such a change will not be instantaneous. It will come only over time and with serious and consistent effort on our part. Prayer, fasting, giving up those things that keep us at a distance from God, giving of ourselves in ways we ordinarily do not find convenient…this is the recipe for our spiritual transformation. Lent challenges us to trust that the “before” of the present can be changed into a glorified “after” of Easter. Repent and believe in the Good News.
Taken from the Roman Missal and offered by Fr. Lawrence Lentz, CSV, former high school administrator, Las Vegas pastor and current Assistant Provincial of the Viatorian Community.