Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In the throes of Lent

Well, my friends, here we are in the throes of Lent. As a local priest has explained at Mass over the past two weeks, we are now into the "tension Gospels", where the Gospels grow more and more tense each day, leading up to the culmination in the Passion of Christ.

Perhaps also, we feel the tension building in our spiritual journey as we strive to pass through this intense period of purification in our own hearts. I know I have felt the tension build in my life. Not necessarily in outward tangible circumstances, but in distinct disquiet of heart. Distractions, uncertainties, fears, hurts, and doubts creep in, and I find myself easily getting wrapped up in it all.

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like one of the things that puts my heart in a tailspin most of all is discouragement. When certain fears, attitudes, and struggles pop back in my days again, I think..."Wait a minute! I thought I was over that!" and "I thought I had already worked through that. Why is it re-emerging again? Am I ever going to be free of [insert your struggle] again?" And then I begin to sink into discouragement, wondering if my efforts to overcome were futile.

I was thinking about this very vividly the other day. I felt as though the Lord was saying "I remind you of your struggles, your fears, your crosses, so that you can remember the weight of it all; So that you can know that in My passion, I bore those very sufferings. I carried them first, and I carry them with you."

Perhaps as the intensity of Lent heightens, we are reminded of our own sorrows more acutely, because our pain is never just our own --

For "surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrow" (Isaiah 54:3).

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