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Lent and Life as Journey
Lent has never been my favorite season of the Church year. It reminds me of the mandatory penance that my mother imposed on my sisters and me: no candy for forty days! Lent also calls to mind very long Holy Week services in a very warm Church before the days of air-conditioning. It was an ordeal that had to be overcome to achieve the prize of an Easter basket filled with goodies! I’m sure my parents and teachers did their best to teach me the deeper meaning of Lent but I was obviously not ready for the message.
Over time, I’ve continued to struggle with experiencing Lent as a special time of grace. This spring I’m exploring the image of a journey, a journey of becoming who God calls us to be. This image attracts me, entices me, energizes me. A Lenten journey to greater “be-ing” speaks to my heart. "Coming to be” has a depth to it that giving up candy never had!
By its very nature, a journey implies a sense of direction. In most situations, there’s a destination and we know when we reach it. In the case of Lent, God is calling us to a place of deeper and deeper union with God. We’re traveling a path characterized by trusting and loving not by following a detailed map or a list of instructions. The destination is not a place but a relationship. Growing in a relationship is exhilarating!
God is my guide, a companion sometimes seen and sometimes hidden; nevertheless, I call out to God in my travels. I ask for strength to grow in love, not to “keep” my Lenten resolutions. I ask forgiveness for the times I’ve made choices that choked my “be-ing.” I pray for those whose “be-ing” I’ve diminished along the way. I anticipate the end of my Lenten journey in Easter this year with a recommitment to the daily surrender of my being into the Risen One.