This year Lent kind of "came in like a lamb" for me. It was just here all of the sudden. Strange. I knew it was coming, we even had king cake...but all the hoopla that was created to get ready for Lent kind of left me "empty". Maybe that's the idea (?) Normally, for me, no hoopla, no king cake, masks, parades, or even Gumbo. As strange as it might seem, I really love the whole season of Lent, leading up to the Triduum, and then a bright and triumphant Easter. More time with the Lord in prayer, fasting, almsgiving...pillars of our faith. Yet, I am not experiencing much a difference in my lifestyle, even though I am attending mass during the week more often, we are saving in our rice bowl to give to give to CRS, and fasting is almost happening undeliberately.
I have had seasons in my life that were much more "powerful" in prayer and deed; it just seems that this year the motions are there, but the business of my life is too - and I'm not sure which I'm paying more attention to.
Yet, Lent is happening all around me - this is what is so interesting, "not by my own will, but yours be done."
We have talked for months of starting an Hour of Mercy at our Parish. I am not the quickest at getting things off the ground. But, someone came to me and asked, can't we start this for Lent at least? And, so we did. Friday afternoon at 3pm, I am there to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Stations of the Cross, and pray in front of the reposed Blessed Sacrament. This has become a most beautiful part of my week.
Each Friday so far I have learned of real life situations that are desperate, victims of crimes unheard of, illnesses that are all consuming, and people in despair so far they are not sure they want to live. There is so much to pray for!! The victims, the offenders, the sick, the despairing. I am almost enveloped by the grief of it all, and yet, I am praying ever more fervently. We can't stop praying!! I am reminded constantly how feeble I really am compared to the reality of what is around me, but with the presence of God and his angels and saints, there is a strength I can't describe. With prayers of faith, hope, and love...I pray for the man that is caught in a web of sin; and for the wounded family that must heal by God's grace; and for the suffering in mind and body. How can we Not pray? How can we Not pay attention to what is going on around us?
I am not sure what is left for me this Lent; but I have a willing heart and I pray dear Lord that I do not get in your way.