How will you use the gift of Lent?

It’s easy for little kids to have the wrong impression of Lent. It can seem like it’s all about punishment and guilt. When I was a kid, teachers would tell us to give something up as penance for our sins.  Since Jesus could resist temptation while fasting in the desert for forty days I can’t have chocolate. Imagine me as an eight-year-old bookworm who loves the epic tragedy of the story of Jesus, but still doesn’t see the point. I thought:

  • If you don’t have to claim ownership of wrong-doing, why would you?
  • If Jesus loves me he doesn’t want me to make myself sad over something trivial like chocolate. We pray “lead me not into temptation”, right?
  • Authority figures placing seemingly meaningless limits on me offended my strong-will.
  • People are boasting and competing. Which penance is most restrictive? Do you make it all the way through Lent?

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Counting It All As Joy This Happy Easter Day

Though we rushed and had the best intentions, we’re still leaving twenty minutes behind schedule for Easter Mass. During the short drive to the church, resisting waves of irritation, I try to find the joy.

We get out of bed at five and spend an hour and a half coaxing our fussy eater to have breakfast. Then getting washed and picking a pretty dress takes forty-five minutes. While wrestling a resistant five-year-old into a coat and boats, a drop of sweat rolling down the back of my neck, I take a moment to admonish her imaginary friend who is a bad influence. Finally, we run through torrential Spring rain to the car to find that it has just enough gas to get us to the church and then straight to a gas station. Probably.

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