Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lent 2009

The season of Lent is nearly done. Another week and we'll be into the Triduum, and then Easter.

Most of my adult life I've felt that if one doesn't set some goals for Lent, one will have the penitence set for one -- and so it's better to set a little goal than have a whopper dumped on you.

Traditionally, folks "give up" something for Lent. Chocolate. Alcohol. Sweets. Fighting with their family. But for years, I've tried to add something for Lent. One year, I kept a dream journal, and was amazed at the spiritual insights I found, reflecting on those dreams in prayer. Another year, I vowed to read the daily selections of Scripture, and was comforted by the Word of God each day. One year, not so many years ago, I just set myself the goal of saying some prayers each day, and that determination, over the course of the forty days of Lent, helped me bring some focus back into my life.

This year, I chose to add to my daily routine the Rosary. I've always been resistant to repetitive prayer, preferring the spontaneous praise of God as I encounter Him in nature and circumstance. I don't know why I thought to pray a Rosary each day, but I have. It's been ... amazing.

The Rosary consists of these prayers: The Apostle's Creed, to start; the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, the acclamation Glory Be To The Father, and To The Son, and To The Holy Spirit. Condemnations of the Catholic faith include accusations of idolatry -- they say we worship Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Oh, whoops, people, you can search Wikipedia or even our own Canon Law or all the Catholic writings back to the time of the apostles, and you will never find a valid sentence to say we worship Mary. But we are human, and she was, too, and we look, in the Rosary, at her experience in contact with The Christ, and hope that we can understand the Mysteries of His interaction with us all.

I'm not going to devolve on a 10k word essay on the life of Christ -- at least not today -- but I will note that saying the Rosary every day has made me deepen my thoughts about what Jesus of Nazareth might have felt, offering His life for his people, becoming the complete and perfect Paschal Sacrifice, walking through the walls of Death and Hell and coming back to tell us ... "You can do this, too. Come with me, take my hand, and trust."

My hope for Lent is not what I can shrug off on Holy Thursday and say, "Whew, glad that's over" but what on Easter Monday I can say, "Look what I've come away with."

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