Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Did you plan for Lent today?

The two biggest feasts of the Church year are Christmas and Easter. Each of these is so important that, in addition to an extended season of celebration, the liturgical year includes a season of preparation. Advent and Lent help us to focus on what is important and prepare ourselves to celebrate Jesus' birth and resurrection, respectively.

This is good. I appreciate the time to prepare. I value the Church's help in being mindful of the season. What I don't appreciate is preparing to prepare.

Currently, the Church is in the season of Ordinary Time (1/9-2/22 this year). We still have a full week left! This is time to enjoy the rhythm of the Church year, to explore our spirituality, and soak in what we have learned. It is a good time.

Golfing to celebrate Ordinary Time.
Get it? Because I'm on the green. Like the liturgical color! Get it?
Oh cheesy Catholic humor...

Unfortunately, people at church have been prompting me to prepare for Lent for the past month.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't we just enjoy the time we have instead of constantly looking ahead to what is next? Many families begin celebrating Christmas weeks ahead of time and have erased all signs of Christmas by the end of December. I know very few people who celebrate Easter throughout the entire 50 days of the Easter season. We want to check off our To Do list and move on, satisfied that we have completed our latest assignment.

Lent is a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I don't think any of these require much, if any, pre-planning. Certainly not weeks of it! Lent is not the event we should be anticipating. Let it be as it was intended, a time of preparation. The main event is yet to come.

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