Dear Friends, as Ash Wednesday is upon us and the sacred season of Lent begins, it is important to remember that Lent is not just about renunciation but also transformation. Lenten fasting can be proactive, helping us to grow in virtue by fasting from negativity, gossip, sloth, spiritual laziness, unhealthy addictions, in order to become disciplined, prayerful, positive-minded, active, God-loving people for the transformation of our lives in Christ; sharing in His Resurrection by rising at the end of this time as new men and women of God, empowered and strengthened for deeper, more meaningful, lives that can touch and help transform other lives.
Here are two programs by two of Catholicism’s greatest evangelists — Matthew Kelly and Scott Hahn — that can help us transform our lives (through deeper conversion in Christ) this Lent.
Matthew Kelly is helping to facilitate the process of transformation for countless Catholic’s through a program called “Best Lent Ever.” I encourage all readers to sign up for this free program, as I will be doing. Here is a description of the program from the Facebook page of the Dynamic Catholic Institute:
“Best Lent Ever is built around encountering Jesus—and yourself—in a deeply personal way, and developing (or nourishing) a habit of daily prayer. Based on Matthew Kelly’s new bestseller Rediscover Jesus, the free email program leads to a transformative Lent and everyday life.
“Beginning Ash Wednesday and continuing through the 40 days of Lent, participants will receive daily inspirational emails with short videos from Matthew, a New York Times bestselling author, and one of our incredible Dynamic Catholic Team members.
“These brief, personal reflections will give you simple ways to bring Jesus into your everyday life.
“So, will it really be your best Lent ever? That is entirely up to you. Sign up today and commit to doing something life changing this Lent.” Please sign up here!
Part of transforming our lives includes, as St. Paul says, expanding our minds, growing in our knowledge of faith. Here is another special program, hosted by Scott Hahn, available this Lent: the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology will be offering free access to a new Bible series called The Bible and the Virgin Mary starting Ash Wednesday. Here is a trailer of the program:
It is a rare opportunity to get this program for free. Please click here to register for the program. On their Web site the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology explains:
“Over the course of 12 lessons, beginning on Ash Wednesday, this study presents the participant an opportunity for growth in knowledge of Scripture and devotion to Our Lady.
“As part of St. Paul Center’s mission, we want to share this study with as many people as possible. Please tell your friends and share this resource. . . . New lessons will be posted each week and will be available for two weeks after the post date. Keep an eye out for a new email each week announcing that the new lesson is available. . . . We look forward to growing with you.”
It is true that Lent is a time of penance and fasting, as we partake in 40 days of abstinence and unite ourselves to the Passion of Christ Jesus, Our Savior and Redeemer. Traditional fasting from certain foods is always fruitful when united with prayer as an offering of sacrificial love to the Lord, and needs to be a part of our Lent. Furthermore, as these helpful series’ by the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology emphasize, the point is not only renunciation but also growth and transformation that should, through God’s grace and our response, happen during Lent, but also extend beyond it.