Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Word for Lent

It's Lent, and while I initially started with the whole "what should I do for Lent and what should I give up, etc.",  I did eventually get around to what should have been my first started point: "Lord, what about Lent this year?" I'm feeling a pull in a very odd direction this year, at least it feels odd in connection with Lent. It started with confession last week, but I'm feeling like a focus should be joy.

It's Lent, right? Desert, fasting, ashes, penance? That Lent? Nonetheless, the pull is toward joy. Which is kind of funny when you think about the fact that I couldn't muster up much joy all Christmas season, and that is kind of what that whole season is about! Now, here in Lent, there is the draw in that direction. Don't get me wrong, I'm not fighting it, I'm just trying to explore what that means in this particular season.

I love the wisdom of the liturgical seasons for keeping the overall balance in our lives. I don't want to confuse the idea of exploring joy in this fasting season with treating this as a season of feasting. The joy is meant to be found in the fasting, not in ignoring it.

Actually, it fits well with Pope Francis' year of mercy. In confession, there is joy in forgiveness. In our weakness, there is joy in Christ providing strength. In the simplicity of the desert, there is joy in finding a clearer focus on God and the things that really matter. In hunger, the reminder that we are made for more than this life.

I think it's much like the joy I am finding in getting rid of so much extra stuff in my house. As I pare down to the things that are more meaningful to me, I realize that the extras were not making my life better, but getting in my way. Lent is that time to do some of the same thing on a more spiritual plane. Letting go, dumping off the extra. It is a time to recognize sin and find forgiveness, but also a time where the fasting should open a little space for us to explore what is really working for us and what is not. Even things that are not sinful may be in the way of a greater joy of deeper communion with God.

On an unrelated note, any particular prayers that you have for me to take to Adoration tonight?


  1. I agree. Joy should be found in the sacrifice. Enjoy adoration, if you don't mind please pray for my son and his educational goals!

  2. Please pray for my friend, Paul, who is having spinal surgery on Friday. Much appreciated.

  3. Please pray for patience and guidance for us.

  4. I think many people mistakenly equate joy with happiness. You've found, however, how much deeper and richer and lasting that joy is and can be. It sounds like you are having a fruitful Lent.