“Do I have to be sad for a whole month?”
“Good grief! No! Where’d you hear that?”
—-a conversation between me and my daughter
I wasn’t always Catholic, but I’ve always liked their stuff. When I was a little girl, I said I wanted to be a nun. In a Baptist family, you can imagine the shock this produced. “Why?!!”, the reasonable and Protestant adult would ask. “Because they get to spend all day with Jesus.”. …kids…gotta love ’em.
In high school, I bought myself a rosary because it gave me something physical to hold on to and worry with my fingers when I was upset. Which, because I was in high school and female, was most of the time.
I know now that anybody can spend all day with Jesus, even if they don’t wear a veil or speak Latin (it’s not as dead as some would say). Anyway, as an adult, I became Catholic and I find peace in my church. My faith hasn’t changed…in fact, I find more often than not, my new church teaches more of the same as my old church. “Jesus is God. He died for you. He rose again. You don’t get to heaven except by the power of His gift of salvation. You don’t work your way into heaven, but be nice anyway.”
Lent is not meant to bum us out. (think Buddy Christ, here.). God doesn’t want to punish us or make us sad; what He wants, is for His kids to get to know Him. Lent is about removing the barriers we build that separate us from God.
It’s the cosmic version of, “Turn that game off and look at me when I’m speaking to you!”
For 40 days, my church wants me to really, thoroughly pay attention. Jesus doesn’t care about your chocolate habit or how many times a day you check your Facebook page or how much on-line shopping you do…unless those things are hurting your spirit, diverting your eyes from the importance of loving your God.
I’m sure The Lord not only loves SkiBall, but chocolate, as well. 🙂
Lent should not be sad; but just as a child will pout while turning off a game, we resist direction, too. We need that kid to turn off the TV so we can tell them something wonderful, something like, “Hey, if you’ll clean your room, we’ll go to the movies!”. Suddenly, the TV is forgotten in a blur of toys being put away. Lent is God saying to us, “Hey, if you’ll step away from your self-made stress and listen to My Word, we’ll get to hang out when your heart stops.”.
God loves us. All He wants is for us to make eye contact once in a while. Lent can help with the focus.