In our search for a Catholic church, we found ourselves at St. Julian Eymard, my cousin’s church in Elk Grove Village. It was the first Sunday of Lent, appropriate because I had not been to Mass in two weeks, and why not start the season off by going? I seem to be good at starting and stopping, or at least pausing in my faith. The homily spoke to that subject in that Christ wants us to “come back to him.” In the hymn “Hosea” we sing, ” Come back to me with all your heart, don’t let fear keep us apart. Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.”
As the priest talked of turning away from sins of the flesh, and rejecting pride and materialism for things that really mattered, I found myself wondering what I would wear on Easter Sunday, oh yes, my coral colored suit and how I needed new shoes and wouldn’t those” killer” platform heels I saw at Marshalls the other day look hot with it? Oh yeah…back to church. See what I mean? I have great intentions, but it is hard to stay on the straight and narrow.
The Lenten season is a time to pause and reflect on our spiritual life leading up to Easter Sunday. A chance to try to repent for our missteps and shortcomings. To try to show our gratefulness for the Son of God’s sacrifice on our behalf to attain everlasting life.
That being said, it is not easy. Nothing seems to be enough. Sure we can give up sweets, which would benefit us, (notice I didn’t say anything about beer). When I was growing up in small town America, Lent was a dark time. It meant sacrifice for us, it seemed like a long time between Ash Wednesday and Easter. When you are a kid no candy or soda pop for six weeks seems like an eternity. The chocolate Easter Bunnies tasted extra good when you went without for a period of time. We rejoiced, Alleluia, Lent was over, bring on the Peeps and the marshmallow eggs!
In retrospect, that is what lent is all about. A dark period where we go out into the desert of our spiritual lives looking for redemption, being tempted along the way. It is a time for prayer and soul searching and waiting for the light of Christ to bring us out of the night.