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March 2004 

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Lent, a time of conversion of the heart




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Lent, a time of conversion of the heart

année liturgique Along the liturgical year, the four weeks of Advent precede the Nativity; the seven weeks afterwards lead to Easter, and the other five weeks to Pentecost. To celebrate well, a way of conversion of the heart is proposed to us every year. 
Was it not already the same in Jesus' time? When he accepted the baptism of Johan the Baptist, it is said to us that a voice was heard from heaven" You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased" (Luke, 3, 22). What a light, what a grace, and what an interior strength it was to take conscience, at the start of his mission, to which point God loves him!

Then Jesus lead by the Holy Spirit goes to the desert as it is said in the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent. Filled by this love which animates and vivifies him, the temptations of easy success and magical and overwhelming power to which he had to face lead him to deepen and precise his engagement (Luke, 4, 1…).
Then following the narration of his Transfiguration that is proposed to us the following Sunday (Luke, 9, 28…), 


a new stage is offered to Jesus through the inner feeling towards him of Peter, James and John: three disciples among the closest. We will find them at Gethsemane and two of them, after Maria Magdalena, will be the first to testify to the Resurrection.

Then, at the start of Lent, will we not be also invited to an inner discovery, to an other look on Jesus: the one who is the elected one in accordance with the Law and the Prophets (Moses, Elias), in charge of transmitting the light, of announcing the Good News of liberation. Both the Gospel of purification in the desert and the Transfiguration enlighten us in our way to Easter.

temps de carême Perhaps Lent has been too much centered towards asceticism and moral purification. 
First of all we are called upon for a conversion of the heart and more precisely to be aware of a loving presence. We re-discover that God loves us. Our God of kindness and love makes us free of all constraints. His loving presence is for every being; whatever are his limits and poverty. A strong link of communication makes us closer to each other because we are of the same blood; we are participating of this same vital flux coming from God.

Our attention on moral rightness, in this time of Lent, should not entirely absorb us, most important is to have a somewhat new consideration of God and his alliance offered to us. Going to Easter time it is to revive our faith in the Resurrection; it is the amazement of knowing that God loves us. When our faith becomes stronger, our behavior towards our brothers and sisters in humanity, then in filiations with God, is going to imperceptibly change, to become more refined, richer. Lent, a time of conversion of the heart and of transformation of our appreciation of Jesus and his Good News, is an improvement of our humanity.

Anybody who is aware of the others has a lot of reasons to struggle for justice and solidarity. If we know and believe that God loves us, that we have something of divine, how can we not incarnate this faith we have in our daily life? Consequently a more profound understanding of our faith in a loving God who frees us of any constraints and to have more concern about the others, especially the poorer ones, intensify our ascending to Easter celebration during the time of Lent.