Lent is hands down my favorite liturgical season. When I say that, people look at me as though I’m crazy or as though I like beating myself up. Neither is true. Well… Maybe the first just a little, but in a good way. 😉
I love Lent because it gives Easter it’s meaning. How can we rejoice in the resurrection without experiencing the trial and death that preceded it? More than that though, I love Lent because I can think of no greater intimacy in a relationship that humbling yourself and admitting your shortcomings. There is something inherently intimate in the act of penance, which can only serve to strengthen your personal relationship with God. And when that penance is complete, God answers, “I love you. You’re forgiven. You will enjoy eternal life.” What could be more beautiful?
For me, Lent is always a time of positive transformation–a time of spiritual growth. Growing up in a Roman Catholic family, I’ve been in the habit of giving something up for Lent, but I have always tried to give up something that will ultimately make me a better person and bring me closer to God.
Last year, I gave up most of my earthly possessions. We moved from a nice, three bedroom house into a travel trailer. We had minimal storage. Only those things that I couldn’t replace that had significant personal value were stored or kept. Everything else was listed on Craigslist or given to Goodwill. Hard process but a transformative action that refocused my life on more important things. My gaze shifted from earthly concerns to deeper, divine concerns.
In years past, I gave up things like hair color, processed foods, and Diet Coke, allowing me to be a healthier, more authentic version of myself. This year, rather than removing something from my life, I’m adding a discipline. I’m committing to prayer three times a day. I hope to eventually increase that to 5 times a day, but you’ve got to start somewhere. 😉
Many people see Lent as a sad or dark time, which it can be. We have to face Christ’s sacrifice and our role in it. Even more scary… We have to face ourselves. Lent requires quiet and stillness, which are contrary to our fast-paced external world. But Lent can be a time of positive transformation, a journey to prepare us for the risen Lord. Lent can be a deep, spiritual blessing.
What are you experiencing this Lenten season?