We depend on your prayers, volunteer work and financial donations to sustain our ministries. Give now

Reflecting on Lent: A Journey of Purification and Grace

February 26, 2024
Blessed Solanus Casey
Photo of Br. Igor de Bliquy

Father Solanus Guild Reflection by Bro. Igor de Bliquy, OFM Cap. – February 26, 2024

As we embark upon the Lenten season, a time of profound spiritual renewal and preparation, the Preface for Lent offers a poignant reflection on the journey toward the Paschal Mystery. It speaks of Lent as a gracious gift from God, inviting us to await the sacred Paschal feasts “with the joy of minds made pure.” This period is not merely a time for abstaining from certain pleasures but a sacred opportunity to delve deeper into prayer, engage more fully in works of charity, and participate more intimately in the mysteries of our faith. Through these practices, we are drawn closer to the “fullness of grace” that God bestows upon us all, his sons and daughters.

In the heart of this reflective journey, the wisdom of Fr. Solanus Casey, resonates profoundly with the essence of Lent. Solanus, in a letter to Br. Leo Wollenwebber, OFM Cap., articulated a core element of Capuchin spirituality that beautifully aligns with the Lenten call to prayer, charity, and participation in divine mysteries. He wrote: “After all, since we have nothing of our own, what we do, in the Capuchin order especially, we do for the community and in a way it is sure to return to us again. In many cases, it comes back in many ways.”

This perspective sheds light on the Lenten journey as a communal pilgrimage towards holiness. Lent challenges us to realize that our acts of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are not isolated deeds but are deeply woven into the fabric of our communal faith life. The Capuchin spirituality, as embodied by Fr. Solanus, encourages us to see these practices not as ends in themselves but as means to purify our minds and hearts, thereby enriching our community and drawing us closer to God and one another.

The Lenten season extends a profound invitation to all faithful to embark on a journey of inner purification and renewal, mirroring a spirit of humility and service. This period calls us to engage more deeply with our practices of prayer and works of charity, reflecting the foundational belief that in giving of ourselves, we receive manifold blessings. This ethos, deeply rooted in Christ, finds a resonant echo in Solanus’ life, which emphasizes a life lived in service to others and in humble submission to God’s will. By dedicating ourselves to these practices during Lent, we do not merely perform acts of devotion but actively participate in the life-giving mysteries of our faith, drawing nearer to the heart of the Church’s mission, and to God Himself.

Our Lenten sacrifices, our acts of charity serve as tangible expressions of our desire to purify our minds and hearts, aligning our wills with that of the Divine. This process of purification is not a solitary endeavor but a communal one, fostering a spirit of unity and mutual support around us. As we journey through Lent, our increased devotion to prayer and charity become a vehicle for grace, enabling us to more fully embody the virtues God calls us to. This deepened engagement with our faith’s mysteries, particularly through reflection on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, opens our eyes to the reality of God’s redemptive work in the world and our part in that divine plan. It is through these practices that we begin to understand more profoundly the significance of the Paschal Mystery and its implications for our lives as followers of Christ.

Moreover, this journey through Lent, enriches not only our personal faith experience but also strengthens the bonds within our faith community. By participating more fully in the mysteries, in the sacraments, we contribute to the building up of the Body of Christ, the Church. Our acts of charity and devotion ripple through our communities, inspiring others and drawing them closer to the heart of the Gospel. In this way, the Lenten call to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving becomes a means of communal transformation, reflecting just as Solanus did, the emphasis on community, mission, and shared spiritual growth. As we move closer to the celebration of Easter, our Lenten journey thus becomes a testament to the power of grace to renew not only individual hearts but the entire Church, embodying the fullness of grace that God promises to all His sons and daughters.

The Lenten journey, as highlighted in the Preface for Lent, is a pathway to rebirth and renewal. It is a time when we, through our Lenten observances, recommit ourselves to the Gospel and grow in the grace God offers us as his children. The emphasis on rebirth echoes Solanus’ commitment to a life of continual conversion and simplicity, guiding us to seek not just the external observance of Lenten disciplines but their internalization in a way that transforms our hearts and minds.

In embracing the Lenten season with ‘the joy of minds made pure’, we are called to reflect on how our fasting, prayer, and almsgiving can contribute to the life of our community. Inspired by Fr. Solanus Casey’s insight, we recognize that our Lenten journey is not a solitary endeavor but a communal offering that enriches both the individual and the community. It is in this sacred time that we are reminded of the profound interconnectedness of our spiritual practices and the communal dimension of our journey toward Easter.

As we move through Lent, let us hold fast to the message of the Preface for Lent and the wisdom of Fr. Solanus, allowing them to guide our practices and transform our hearts. May this Lenten season be a time of purification, growth, and grace, leading us to the fullness of grace that God promises to his sons and daughters, and enriching our community, wherever that may be, with the fruits of our prayer and charity.


Stay up to date with the Solanus Casey Center