For Lent: Bothering, Almsgiving and Joy

Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday tomorrow (in case you've forgotten) is often seen as a rather downbeat time, focusing mainly on "giving things up."  While sacrifice, penance and self-abnegation are all valuable spiritual disciples that can help us detach ourselves from things that can get between us and God, that's not the only reason for Lent, a season of expectation and desire.  To broaden that understanding a bit, here's a piece from HuffingtonPost on a slightly more "positive" way of looking at Lent as a time of "bothering to love," (a term popularized by James F. Keenan, S.J., a moral theologian at BC).  Here's a fun video from BustedHalo which tries to explain Lent in 2 minutes flat (and does a pretty good job, too.)  Also, above is a brief video we recorded a few years back on how sacrifice and almsgiving, one of whose original purposes was to save money for the poor, can lead to...joy.  After all one of the prefaces for the Mass during Lent says, "Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery."

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James Martin, SJ

 

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7 years 4 months ago
Great reflection, Fr. Martin.  Thank you for helping me rethink the season of lent.  Doing and being something for others definitely sound better than just giving things up.  The former require much more challenge and deliberate intent, but the dividend is joy.  How can you beat that!?
7 years 4 months ago
Thank you, Father. Great reminder!

Father Hardon SJ  provides a brief history of Lent:

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Lent/Lent_001.htm

Fr. Hardon on penance and reparation, and love:  

Remember after the Resurrection when Christ asked Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the others do?" Why the question? Because Peter had sinned; sinned more than the others who had remained faithful to the Master. Peter was expected to love Christ more. Why more? Because he had more to sacrifice, in order to expiate more, because he had so deeply sinned in denying the Saviour. To read the rest see link below:

www.mariancatechist.com/spiritual_reading/index.html - This takes you to you to the Marian Catechist Apostolate. Scroll down on left to Penance and Reparation: A Lenten Meditation. There are other wonderful essays re Lent.




 





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