I have been wishing everyone here at school a happy Ash Wednesday. Not surprisingly, I've gotten a few protests that Ash Wednesday isn't a "happy" day.
Maybe these people were a little cranky from fasting, but I beg to differ! For the past couple of days friends and I have spent our lunch conversations deciding on a "top ten" list of great things about Lent:
Top Ten "Coolest" Things About Lent
10. Purple is a much more elegant liturgical color than green.
9.You can save money on all the food you won't be eating--although you should probably be giving this to the poor!
8. All the good fish recipes come out of the woodwork.
7. A convenient excuse to watch The Passion of the Christ. (I've heard in some places they even bring it back into theaters.)
6.Catholic camaraderie. E.g., when you see someone else with ashes today, you know they were at Mass, too!
5. You don't need to hide or make excuses around your penance and sacrifices--because everyone else is supposed to be doing the same thing.
4. Priests are generally more enthusiastic to hear confessions--so I don't have to worry about becoming the "scourge of the clergy" by going frequently.
3. More opportunities for organized communal prayer, especially on the campus of a Catholic university.
2. Cool antiphons.
and the #1 coolest thing about Lent...
...is the chance to become closer to Jesus Christ!
Some of our list items are silly, but we really should be excited about the chance to renew our spiritual life. So I will continue to wish everyone a happy Lent.
Yes, Lent is so a happy time!
G. K. Chesterton said that the men signed with the sign of the cross go gayly in the dark. That's right, we who are so blessed to be marked as HIS do indeed rejoice, even when we are stumbling and groping in the dark. Even there -- especially there! -- we are surrounded by and filled with His light, which is greater than all the darkness of this world combined (and which, St. John tells us in his gospel, the darkness has never been able to extinguish!). Deo gratias!
The Church herself specifically refers to the joy of Lent in the first preface of Lent when we pray: "Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed." So while we may not be singing "Alleluia" during this great season of grace, we are indeed happy for Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!!!
Happy Lent indeed!
Magnificat anima mea Dominum!
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