People sometimes ask the question, “What do you like better – Christmas or Easter?” While many people gladly say, “Christmas!,” I’m the person who usually says “Easter!,” but with the add-on, that it is Lent that is really my favorite season in the year.
After experiencing the 19th Annotation (here’s a link I found about the 19th Annotation spiritual exercises) during my mission year with Cabrini Mission Corps in NYC, the hours I specifically spent in prayer during those 40 Lenten days were some of the most powerful spiritual experiences I have ever had. Having the opportunity to journey through contemplative prayer, and other forms of prayer using the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola (ex. lectio divina, contemplative prayer, the examen, etc.) for those days during Lent, really changed my life.
And so, since then, Lent has become my most favorite time. It is, also, not necessarily a happy time full of celebrations, considering it follows the pain and suffering of Christ, but it is the spiritual journey that I seem to find most fruitful for me. Sure, we may “give up” things like chocolate, or facebook, meat, or trying our best not to judge people, or we may do things additionally, like, wake up 15 minutes early to read a passage from the Bible, or pray a rosary or a decade of the rosary everyday (clearly, I have thought of this), but moreso, getting an understanding for the meaning behind this season is what we’re goin’ for. And that’s what gets me.
Fast. It brings me back to trying my best to live simply and for me to recall what it is that I need, and what I can do without. Pray. This Lenten season is a check-in for me and my prayer life – am I just allowing my mind to run off and go in circles or am I spending time in prayer and contemplation with God? Almsgiving. And, how can I serve others with the things which I own or gifts/talents that I possess? For me, this season calls for a full on self-check in.
And then, before I know it… at the end of this windy, challenging road of reflecting on myself, and accepting my weakneses and imperfections, and loving all of those parts wholeheartedly, because they are what make me who I am… then it is Easter! Another reminder that, not just once a year, but every day, there is the promise of renewal and new life.
May you be blessed this Lenten season and draw closer to the One who loved you first.
“To achieve its goal, voluntary simplicity must be undertaken in the spirit of adventure…. Richard Gregg, who coined the term in 1936, once complained to Gandhi that while he had no trouble giving up most things he couldn’t let go of his books. Gandhi told him he shouldn’t try: “As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, you should keep it.” He pointed out that if you give things up out of a sense of duty or self-sacrifice, they continue to preoccupy you and clutter your mind.” – Philip Slater, Wealth Addiction
Check out the links for some helpful Lenten resources! Peace.