Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Lent: It's cool to be in the desert

Newsflash: Lent is not all doom and gloom. Although sack cloth and ashes are pretty hardcore that's not what I've been wearing the last 14 days. 

O Happy Lent! I know this may sound a little strange.  But I was totally stoked to enter into Lent this year. What? I was excited about Lent!?! ( maybe I've been in the convent too long--ha. not.)

Lent seems to kinda sneaks up on you from behind. Say, "Ha gotcha" throw a handful of dust at you and try to fade into the background and sneak right by. Not many seasons do that. And slowly I've learned that you need to turn around and face Lent before the homily on Ash Wednesday. Come on. Who hasn't decided what they are giving while in line waiting to get ashes. And the default is usually sweets or specifically chocolate. Am I right?

But, when you really look at Lent something about it is kinda alluring. It says in the Gospel "The spirit drove Jesus out into the desert." Jesus was driven into the desert--by the Holy Spirit. *PAUSE*. So your saying: the Third person of the Trinity (Holy Spirit), drew the Second Person of the Trinity (Jesus), to be with the First person of the Trinity (Father). Woah. Sign me up on "Desert Tour Lent 2012." 

I think it's our biblical image of the desert that throws off our idea of Lent. Which was pretty much equivalent of eating my veggies. You just get through it.  
The Pope talked about this two fold image of the desert in his Wednesday audience the first week of Lent. (You can check out the whole article here ) The Papa Benny said:
"On one hand, it is the season of first love with God, between God and His people, when He speaks to their hearts, pointing out to them the path to follow...On the other hand, the Bible also portrays another image of Israel's wandering in the desert: It is also the time of the greatest temptation and peril..."
Like Isreal's forty years, Jesus remains in the desert 40 days experiencing both intimate union with the Father and exposure to danger and temptation. It is so easy to look over this first part of Lent; a time of intimate communion or "special closeness" with God. Deserts are not only a place of aridity and temptation, but also equally a place of solitude and  intimacy. If your two part Lenten desert see-saw was broken like mine: FIX IT! 

And why have I grown to love Lent soo much?  Because I love Easter! We are a resurrection people. It is so much sweeter to deeply drink in that Easter joy when we have truly journeyed with Jesus into the desert all the way to the cross. 
There's still 26 more days left! Don't let Lent try to sneak by. 


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