From our current standpoint, Lent is almost over. Passion Week and Holy Week are coming soon. Yet are we prepared?
For many years, Holy Week would always catch me unaware. I would being Lent strong, but I would always find myself giving up around the third day. I felt that I could not bear the discipline and so I left it alone. This year, for many reasons, has been very different and I am very glad that it has.
As I have lived Lent this year, I have learned a great deal about myself and the type of person that I am. I have come to the realization that there are many things, which I need to fix. But I have also noticed that I have received many tremendous blessings from Our Lord and that my prayers and sacrifices for others yield fruit not only for them, but also for me.
As the Lenten season progresses from Ash Wednesday to Passion Sunday, one feels that one is being led closer and closer to Jerusalem. The theme of suffering is enlarged upon daily in the Mass. We also come to feel increasing tension coming between the Jews and Our Lord. We cannot comprehend their hard-heartedness or why they refused to hear what Our Lord had to say. Yet we also marvel at Our Lord’s patience and kindness towards them and how He was willing to bear with them in the same way that He has borne with us and our transgressions.
We come to the realization also that the goal of Lent is to make us properly prepared for the celebration of Our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday. If we do not prepare the ground thoroughly, we may not appreciate that greatest of feast days for what it is. We may only see it as another Sunday in a long yearly cycle, a day to visit family, or the reason why the children have their Easter egg hunts. Yet there is so much more to Easter than the externals of that day. There are so many layers in the story that we cannot hope to understand them all at once. Easter is the grand culmination of Lent and the seasons preceding it. With Pentecost, we once again return to a time of the year that is much more ordinary and less stringent. Yet we will continue to carry the joy of Easter morning for the next year to come.
Yet that joy only comes through experiencing and meditating on the sufferings of Our Lord. What Our Lord underwent for each one of us was much more painful than anything that we have ever suffered. By His crucifixion, Our Lord had drunk the last dregs of the chalice that had been prepared for Him by His Heavenly Father. It is our task also to drink of that same cup and these days preceding Easter are precise those on which we should try to imitate Him as much as we possibly can. For the joy of Easter does not come without the suffering of the Cross.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!