I’m not too sure where the first part of 2014 has gone, but it’s unbelievable that Lent starts on Wednesday.
When I was younger, Lent was definitely NOT one of my favorite times of the year. It meant giving up Scooby Doo (I’m not joking about that. I was an avid watcher) and spending every Friday night at our parish Fish Fry.
But I think the big reason why I had such an “issue” with Lent is because I didn’t really get it. I mean I knew what happened, I’d done the Stations of the Cross enough times to memorize the entire booklet. But I never felt a real connection with the celebration that was happening. In my mind it was: talk about sad things for 40 days; pray the Sorrowful mysteries and reflect on sad things, and celebrate on Easter when Jesus rises.
So basically Lent was this depressing-ish time to reflect upon? No wonder I didn’t really understand what was going on.
It wasn’t until I was in college did I really gain any perspective, let alone some appreciation for this incredible season. Yes, Lent is a time to reflect and meditate on the suffering and death of Jesus, but there is SO much hope in that suffering and death.
St. Augustine said it perfectly:
The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.
Mind. Blown. St. Augustine never ceases to amaze me.
I heard a priest once say in a homily, that we are called to take up our cross as Jesus has. I’ve heard people say this before, but the priest added that by taking up our crosses in UNION with Jesus, we are saying that we allow hope in our hearts for the coming when this cross will pass. There is glory, not fear or shame, in the cross because Jesus went on the cross for us, to save us, so we could in turn be with Him in heaven.
I HIGHLY suggest giving St. Augustine’s full sermon a read HERE.
So when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I’m just starting to prepare my head and my heart for Lent this time around. My head, by deciding what I’ll be fasting from and/or what I’ll do for my prayer life and my heart, by figuring out why I’m Praying, Fasting, and Almsgiving aka The Swiss Army Knife of the Spirit (I read that online and have officially adopted this phrase) and reflecting on…well… basically all of the above.
What I’d like to do for Lent is spend some time journeying with Mary as she follows Jesus during his last days of life, the joys of having him around and the suffering of watching him suffer (in turn suffering herself). I have found a few resources here and there, but if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!
If you’re still looking for some unique things to give up/do for Lent, here are a few links to check out. There are some great ideas!
Weird Lent Ideas
66 Things to Give up for Lent
101 Practical Fasting Ideas for Lent
10 Tips for a Fruitful, non-lame Lent