Over at Simple Gifts I found the above video.
I suppose it is the greatest of Christian challenges to just live for God. I know a great deal was made of Mother Teresa’s journals when they were release about ” The dark night of the soul” that long period of spiritual dryness that she, and so many great souls, faced. To me it was a blessing to know how she felt. Our world is a place where there are many dark Corners, where the light is sometimes difficult to see, or worse burning so pure and complete as to make us feel not just naked but transparent.
We are halfway through Lent and Easter is edging closer everyday. In ways this has been a very good Lent for me, in others it has felt somewhat disconnected, I guess would be the right word. I am looking forward to Easter. I can feel the journey through Lent building. When I was a child living in Eastern Oregon storms never felt sudden. You would see clouds gathering in the distance, the wind would begin to pick-up then the smell of the rain in the distance. Easter is like that for me this year a distant storm that grows and travels, I can feel it and hear it and smell it coming. I am waiting in anticipation, but I am not sure exactly what will be.
I gave it up for Lent. It is almost cliche anymore isn’t it? I don’t care I still give something up for Lent. There are two approaches that I have taken to the Lenten sacrifice and they both seem to work well. The first is to give up something I enjoy, just for the sake of a little bit self-mortification. The other is to give up a bad habit. Overall I favor the first method.
Lent is a time of fasting and introspection. Ideally it is a time to dwell closer to God in preparation for Easter. By giving something up, usually something that I would do every day, I help remind myself frequently of the reality of Lent. In years past I have given up Chocolate, coffee, internet “play time”, television and other things that I know I will miss everyday. Each time where I would have reached for the coffee or flicked on the TV I am reminded that for this short time I am doing something else, focusing on my Savior more deeply.
I have tried to use Lent to help jump-start getting rid of bad habits, but I find that this is slightly less “doable”. Mainly because it somehow doesn’t feel like much of a sacrifice somehow. The other problem is that I find myself falling off the wagon as soon as Lent is over.
If you think Lent is really early this year you are correct. Easter this year is nearly as early as it can be, as you probably know Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, or the Paschal moon. Lent begins forty days before Easter. I was reading these interestesting facts about the date of Easter at Wikipedia:
In the Western Church, Easter has not fallen on the earliest of the 35 possible dates, March 22, since 1818, and will not do so again until 2285. It will, however, fall on March 23 in 2008, but will not do so again until 2160. Easter last fell on the latest possible date, April 25, in 1943 and will next fall on that date in 2038. However, it will fall on April 24, just one day before this latest possible date, in 2011.
The cycle of Easter dates repeats after exactly 5,700,000 years, with April 19 being the most common date, happening 220,400 times, or 3.9% compared to a mean for all dates of 162,857 times, or 2.9%.
So, yes this is really early for Lent to start.
Wow! Lent comes early this year. February 6 to be exact. That means it is almost upon us and I still have some minor Christmas decorations to store. (mostly my end of the season floral “to good to pass up” deals). Each year we try to make our family Lenten sacrifice something meaningful. We also encourage the children to “give up” something within their abilities to manage.
Several years ago we gave up TV. It worked for us, in fact after a couple years of giving up TV as a family for Lent we gave it up entirely. We still own a TV and use it for watching videos, but we no longer have cable or any type of “station” — I am considering hooking up some rabbit ears so I can watch Masterpiece Theater’s Complete Jane Austen. I am ecstatic! They will be showing all the books. I wouldn’t resubscribe to cable for it… but a set of rabbit ears I can handle.