Getting Ready....

It has recently been sneaking upon me that Lent begins in a week. Hmm.....how did this happen? Weren't we just celebrating Christmas?

Anyway, I was talking with the kids here in one of our religion classes about the different Eucharistic prayers and how they have many different prefaces to them that can be used for basically any day of the Liturgical Year.

It struck me that one of them for Lent used these words, "Lord, you have given us this joyful season." Now, most people wouldn't put the words "joyful" and "Lent" in the same sentence. Isn't Lent supposed to be about pain and suffering? aren't we supposed to be miserable for 40 days or something like that?

I guess that is popular sentiment, that we are supposed to go without and suffer for the 40 days preceeding Easter, but somehow, when I look at the life of Jesus, it doesn't add up. He suffered immensely, was misunderstood, ridiculed, ignored; all the while taking our sin upon him, and He was never miserable. He wasn't depressed. He didn't feel sorry for Himself (although of all people, He could have). So He is telling us something.

As Christians, we don't suffer just to suffer. We die to things in order to rise again. When we die to our selfishness and self-centeredness and our need to be liked by everyone, we can rise and live like Christ.

Lent helps us rid ourselves of these blights that really disguise who we were created to be. That's why it's joyful. It's joyful because God loves us so much that He would take care to prune us and help us grow. Everything in our life in providential. It's all allowed with one goal:eternal life with Christ. Often we can't see the good in a situation but God allows things with eternity in mind. So we know that through it all, He is with us. Always has been, always will be.

So, maybe this Lent, try thanking God more often. Try to see the good in people instead of judging them. Put on the mind of Christ, who suffered for us, with joy, out of His great and tender love for us.

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