Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday and continues for forty days, just as Jesus spent in the desert. The dessert is a hostile place full of pitfalls but also an oasis of peace and quiet.
Jesus spent forty days alone without food and drink. Fasting. This is the one of the three points which Christians are asked to practice during Lent. Later, Jesus told us how to fast: When you fast, do not look gloomy and do not neglect your appearance so that everyone can see you are fasting. But anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden (cf. Mt 6:16-18). Fasting does not mean to refuse any food so that everyone could see how good I am in filling the prescription of the Law. Fasting means withholding something like food, or denying what I like to eat, or possess, or see, or hear, or say, or… Fasting means to refuse sins, to become more friendly, anyone without distinction. Fasting means not to criticize others for their mistakes, but recognize my own shortcomings and ask Jesus and others for forgiveness. There are still more opportunities on how to fast.
For forty days Jesus fasted and was hungry. Then Satan took the opportunity and tempted Jesus. Satan lurks for everyone who journeys on the path of repentance. One of the temptations is a feeling to be strong enough to refuse a meal. This could cause one to become more impatient or often angry because of being hungry. Another one is to refuse offered help, or demand for help even if I can do it myself, or refuse to help who is asking for help. There are many temptations made by Satan.
In the desert Jesus prayed and spent a long time in dialogue with His Father. To be strong enough in fulfilling our Lenten resolutions we have to pray. Prayer during Lent does not mean to kneel all day in prayer. Prayer in this case means to take time for prayer and reflection, to attend Holy Mass as often, read Scripture, pray the rosary, attend Eucharistic adoration. Jesus advises us: When you pray go to your inner room (cf. Mt 6:6). Then go to the quiet place and say to your Heavenly Father everything what bothers you, tell Him yours joys, worries, your plans, your sins but also your good will to become a better person. There are many opportunities to make your prayer fruitful.
Venerable Mother Alphonse Marie, even as a youth, received advice from Jesus for her whole life: “Pray, suffer and be quiet.” These words could also be, a guidance on our life’s journey.