Lent Beyond Tradition and Christian Counseling

Christian Counseling Should Prepare the Faithful for Lent

Christian Counseling sessions should prepare souls for Lent.  The Church has set aside a special time for Christians to prepare themselves for the Resurrection of Christ. Far from merely just a historical memorial of an event, it is a living tradition where the Mystical Body of Christ together as one unit, spiritually renewing itself in union with its head, Jesus Christ. While the event in question happened two millennia ago, one still can simultaneously reflect on Christ’s death and carry one’s own cross. This is the supernatural mystery of Lent because one’s sacrifice escapes the temporal prison of time but is offered to God in one clear precise eternal moment. In this way, while reflecting on a historical event, one still, within the eyes of God, can participate and offer his or her consolations to Christ as he dies for mankind. So one does not weep for Christ’s death in the past but weeps in the present with Mary and the Holy Women.

Lent in this regard is a reflection of the past but also a spiritual exercise of the present which is offered to an eternal God who is not bound by time. Christian Counselors should emphasize this aspect of Lent as a time to offer oneself to Christ and console Christ in his darkest moments. One during this time should take up his or her cross and carry it up Calvary with Christ via sacrifices, fasting, and virtue building.
Christian Counselors during this time should encourage Biblical study time where the story of Christ and his passion is meditated upon. In addition to Scripture, one should also partake in a deeper prayer life. Catholics should partake in the Stations of the Cross, make frequent confessions, and visit the Eucharist. Protestants also can partake in various Lenten traditions in their own home or church.
Christians in general, should also work beyond the mere required fast days and individual sacrifices, but also work on a particular virtue they would like to cultivate. Through a thorough examination of conscience, one should be able to identify the core element of one’s spiritual life that needs addressed and focused upon. In addition to this, one should not only work on oneself but also apply the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy to one’s fellow man via good deeds of compassion and love.
The purpose of Lent while reflective on Christ’s passion is also a reactive time where one living in the present offers contrition to God and reparation via spiritual rebuilding and good works. This goes beyond mere rituals of abstaining from meat on Friday but involves a living and interactive faith with God that is fed by love and not habit. Lent is not about who can fast the most or not grumble about fasting but is a time to suffer and later resurrect with Christ. Without this love, abstaining from meat is merely a foolish ritual with no true meaning.
Christian Counseling should emphasize these elements to all spiritual children and should help and guide others in making the best out of one’s Lent. As a Christian counselor one can not only help a person understand fasting but also help someone build sanctity and a better relationship with Christ through prayer, virtue and charity.  If you are interested in becoming a Christian Counselor, please review the program.
Mark Moran, MA