One day the sun is out, it’s 70 degrees, and the next it’s blizzarding snow and ice. Granted, the latter half is definitely more appropriate this time of year, but I feel more people appreciate the warmth.
Anyway, enough about the weather; let’s talk Lent.
Isn’t it interesting that Lent falls in a season where we are experiencing change? Breaking away from the cold dreariness of wintertime into the warmth and sunshine of springtime.
Many Catholics suffer from some type of wintertime in their spiritual life: a time of cold and desolation where God does not seem present. Much like the winter season can feel like it drags on, our spiritual lives can occasionally hit a lull that keeps us from being liveing out our Catholic identity to the fullest.
This Lent, I’ve been doing the “Best Lent Ever” series by Matthew Kelly at Dynamic Catholic. If you have never done it or have never heard about it, I highly encourage you to look it up. It will change your life. Not because it’s anything new we’re hearing, but because it’s reinvigorating that our faith is a faith of hope and joy. One of the first things addressed in the series is as Catholics we are in need of a springtime in our spiritual lives.
Spring brings hope and life, a growing of new things and a time of joy. We anticipate the coming of spring throughout the winter months. We wait patiently, or impatiently, for the first sign of green and for flowers blooming and birds singing. We experience joy when we see those first few signs of spring because it means hope for better and clearer weather.
Lent is just like that. Lent is a time of spiritual growth, blossoming into a better Catholic than we were the day before. It is a slow and steady process, and we look forward to the Easter season because it is a sign of newness and life. We can anticipate both spring and Easter by preparing ourselves for the seasons.
In the springtime, we shrug off our heavy coats and dark snow boots, and we wear lighter and brighter colors. In Lent, we are shrugging off our darkness and desolation and coming forth brighter and rejuvenated. We do this through prayer, through Mass, through confession and just an overall better spiritual life.
Lent can be challenging and more dreary if we only focus on the fasting part and not the chance to grow from the experience of it. Lent is an exciting time because it gives every person a chance to take their spiritual life to a new level.
We have a very unique opportunity to be at a school where Lent is not just something we go through alone, but we are surrounded by so many people who are going through it as well.
That in itself should be a motivation. Not in any way to try and beat out your friends with better or more rigorous acts of fasting, but a chance to be inspired by those around you and to have someone there to help you stay accountable for your Lenten decisions. Lent is the church’s springtime. It is a chance to shake of the winter chill of spiritual dryness that might be going on in our lives and burst forth in full bloom as a better Catholic.