June 17, 2009

The fruits of Lent

Yes, I realize that it is not Lent anymore and I realize it's not even the Easter season anymore, however I have been thinking a lot lately about the fruits of this past Lent.

As posted before, one of the things I gave up for Lent was watching TV during the day. With our new line of cable (which we got rid of a while ago) I found myself attached to series I never even gave a second look to before or I found myself with the TV on simply for background noise. The fruits of giving up TV amounted to many things, such as giving up cable, using music as a background instead (which Avila loves), reading the pile of books and magazines I have, spending better quality of time with Avila, and simply enjoying silence.

But the fruits of Lent extend even further than what I gave up. When Easter was a few days away, and I was sitting in Holy Thursday Mass, I realized that incredible joy follows a period of sacrifice and waiting. I realized that the more we offered and gave of ourselves during the preparation time of Lent amounted to more to celebrate once the Easter season began. And then it hit me (as eternity does many times throughout my week) - that this life is like Lent, in that we are preparing for the joy and celebration of Heaven by our faith and our actions. And that the more we give of ourselves and offer to the Lord now, the more we will have to celebrate with Him in Heaven.

The seasons of the Church are there to remind us of this pattern of sacrifice and joy. For Easter Sunday did not come without Good Friday, and Jesus' glory in Heaven did not come without His death on the cross. The Lord desires to keep this in front of us always - to remind us that we, too, have to put in the hard work and sacrifices necessary to receive our glory in Heaven - that we must follow the road of the cross on a daily (not just seasonal) basis. I know many times over that I can give so much more to the Lord. Yes, His grace is all that I ultimately need, however I cannot presume that I can get by with just enough on my part. We must be constantly striving for greatness, for a sacrificial life, and for peace that resides in doing all for Christ. I have much to work on in these areas, and I ask that God will grant me the grace and the desire to live in the spirit of Lent so I can be ready for the joy of the eternal Easter season.

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