Part of the wisdom of Catholicism is the opportunity the Church extends to the People of God to deepen their faith through the mechanism of the liturgical year. Lent has returned, and at Ash Wednesday, we are challenged to resist Lent’s derogation into the merely routine, and to grow in faith and in wisdom despite the repetition of years.
Lent, properly understood, is hard. It requires humility — a genuine conversion of heart and a movement away from self-centeredness. It requires fortitude — a willingness to complete the journey despite the fear and the guilt that accuse us along the path. It requires courage — a stoutness of spirit that forces us to look past the demons standing jealous guard over our desires. It requries joy — a sense of grateful wonder that we who are imperfect may nevertheless obtain the gift of redemption.
Lent is a season of penance, when people reflect on their sinfulness and how sin separates man from man and man from God. Lent is a season of hope, in that through the suffering of the One, the many might have eternal life. Above all, Lent is a season of preparation, that we might be ready for that day when we are called to account for our lives.
May your own Lenten observance find you humble, steadfast, and joyful as you prepare for the mysteries of the Triduum and Easter.