Lenten Reflections with Fr. James Sabak

At Catholic University we come together every day as a community that is called and animated by faith, service, and love of our neighbor. During this most holy and solemn season of Lent, we are called into prayer and reflection in a special way, whether on campus or online, as one Catholic University.

On behalf of the Alumni Association, we invite you to join us and your fellow alumni as we journey through Lent with short reflections from alumni and other members of the Catholic University community.

What are we capable of? What brings us glory?

The gospels of Lent rarely reference ashes, penitence, or even forgiveness. In truth, after Ash Wednesday we never hear about ashes again! From the First Sunday of Lent on, there is an immersion into knowing what we ourselves are capable of — and this knowledge focuses on what brings us to glory.

Fr. James Sabak
Fr. James Sabak

In Matthew, chapter 4, Jesus is tempted in the desert even before he begins his earthly ministry. A temptation that seems even divinely ordained. The whole purpose for Jesus going into the desert is to be tempted Luke's gospel says. But why? Well, this incident in Jesus' life occurs not so that Jesus can defeat the devil — it says even in the text that the devil departs to look for another opportunity (which maybe is Gethsemane?) to tempt Jesus. No, Jesus is tempted to allow for something even more wonderful to happen — that he might come to better know who he is and what it is he is meant to do.

Such is the situation for all of human beings, we are each created for a purpose, a reason, and our life’s journey is the journey of discovering that purpose or reason. Lent, then, is the privileged time for us who say we believe to realize that our mistakes and brokenness are not necessarily impediments to holiness. They, in fact, can be the very means by which God allows us to better understand ourselves and why it is that we believe in the first place.

— Father James Sabak, B.A. 1985, M.A. 2003, Ph.D. 2012
National Chaplain, Catholic University Alumni Association