Did you know that the most important holy day for Catholics is Easter? And that the Lenten season is an important journey of rediscovery leading up to Easter? It’s not simply about painting Easter eggs and giving up chocolate. No, it’s so much deeper and more fulfilling than that.
Lent is a time of reflection and discovery. A period in which we reflect upon God’s promise of a gift. The gift of His Son, Jesus.
The Truth behind that gift is beyond our comprehension. However, we can know that God’s gift is an offering of His only Son for our sins. Imagine that. His Son—the Son of God—is the sacrificial lamb that takes away all our sins. Does that make you think twice about your sins? When you gaze up at Jesus during the Stations of the Cross, do you see the consequences of your sins in the wounds of the scourging? Are you remorseful? Does it encourage you to repent, reconcile, and vow not to sin again?
The Truth is that we are flawed creatures, but when baptized, we become children of God and He loves us even in our ungodly moments. God doesn’t have to prove His love for us. He already has through His Son. And He continues to prove His love every time He forgives us when we ask for His forgiveness. But how do we return that love? How do we love Him back? Jesus said, if you love Me, you will follow My commandments.
This Lent, let us:
recognize God’s gift
reflect on His love
evaluate our past brokenness, our sufferings, and our failures of the past,
ask for forgiveness, offering it all up to God with humility and hope.
vow to do better, and then continue on, focused on following His commandments.
Lent is a time to stop and evaluate, but most of all, it is a reminder that we should be doing this all year round, not just in the forty days preceding Easter.
In the just-released anthology, Ashes, Visible & Visible, ten Catholic Teen Books’ authors share stories that reflect many themes related to Lent. Stories about washing away sin, vowing to do better, and starting fresh. Stories about hope. Stories that remind us that we are not alone and that our sufferings bring us closer to Jesus because He suffered above and beyond our comprehension. He suffered that pain for us. For our sins.
In my short story, “Bread Alone,” we meet Ethan in the midst of his suffering as he deals with hunger, poverty, and a tragic loss. His journey mirrors Jesus’ time in the desert, in which He was faced with temptation by ways of the devil himself. Like Jesus, Ethan is approached when he is the most vulnerable. Aren’t we all? Isn’t this a story we have all experienced before?
Ethan’s story and the stories of the other characters in Ashes: Visible & Invisible are familiar teen struggles that we have likely all experienced and therefore can relate to.
We at Catholic Teen Books wrote Ashes: Visible & Invisible as a Lenten devotional, so teens can see the season in written word and live Lent more fully. We pray teens enjoy the stories, but more than that, we hope that they discover a deeper meaning in Lent. One that inspires them to reconcile with God and instills within them a desire to know, love, and serve Him more.