It's hard to believe, but in a little over three weeks, we'll begin our annual journey called Lent. While Easter is the biggest liturgical holiday/party of the year, the season of Lent leading up to it is, well, less fun.
It was only a few years ago that I abhored Lent. I didn't like the color purple, I was less than inspired with the Sunday readings, and the whole season was just a pain to get through. This view of Lent was partially rooted in the cultural reduction of the season. It's become a sort of Catholic New Year filled with "resolutions" that we all but abandon a few days into the season.
Lent is spring cleaning for your soul, but too many of us view it as a time of pointless suffering. We give up sweets or TV or something else that’s trivial and then we whine about it for the six weeks until Easter. That's because we too often chose to give something up with ulterior motives.
We give up sweets so we can lose weight. We give up TV and instead we fritter all of that time away on the Internet. Lent is about sacrifice, it’s about fasting to gain greater self-control, but more importantly, its changes should be lasting.
What good is giving up sweets if on Easter you tear through the candy aisle like a castaway returning to civilization? What good is giving up TV if on Easter Monday you're back to watching 8 hours a day?
This Lent, I challenge you to do something lasting. Make this Lent mean something! We all have vices that need attention, or relationships that need healing. Fast from something, yes, but make that a small part of your Lenten journey, not the whole enchilada.
Maybe this is the Lent that you get serious about your prayer life. Six weeks of carving out daily prayer time will more than prepare you for the post-Lenten challenge of continuing your good works.
Maybe this is the Lent that you get serious about going to Mass as a family. Maybe this is the Lent that you get serious about growing in relationship with Mary or with a particular saint. Maybe this is the Lent that you finally punch your biggest habitual sin in the face.
Lent can be so much more than something to get through. A solid preparation throughout the Lenten season can lead to a more joyful Easter celebration. As with goals for the new year, the key to a successful Lent is early preparation.
Take some time to consider your spiritual health, identify areas for improvement, and commit to using this Lent to help you reach those goals. If you're looking for something to help you with your spiritual refresh, "Grant Us Peace
" will make an excellent companion to your Lenten journey.