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Mixed Messages




Lent has always been a weird time for my family. It begins with new prayer regiments, abstinence from meat, chocolate, television, and then POOF! It's my birthday. Break out the streamers, the presents, the cake! It is time to celebrate! Then I am back to Lent, quiet, contemplative Lent with my Lord, and then POOF! It's my daughter's birthday! Break out the streamers, the presents, the cake! It is time to celebrate! Then I am back to Lent, quiet, contemplative Lent with my Lord, and then POOF! It's my daughter's feast day! Break out the streamers, the presents, the cake! It is time to celebrate! Then I am back to Lent, quiet, contemplative Lent with my Lord, and then POOF! It's Easter, and I have lost my opportunity to have a quiet contemplative Lent with my Lord.


Maybe Lent with my family isn't supposed to be quiet and contemplative. Maybe it is supposed to have quiet and contemplative moments, but it is also supposed to be bright and cheerful. Life is like that, too. There are moments of struggle and sorrow, moments of peace and prayer, moments of rejoicing, and moments of preparation when we leave this life and enter into the next. The rhythm of the liturgical year is like that, but the rhythm of every day is like that as well.


As I finish my birthday celebrations and enter into the brief quiet before my daughter's birthday celebrations begin, I am going to carve out the tiniest bit of quiet, contemplative Lent with my Lord each day. After Easter comes and there is no need for sorrow, I am going to carve out the tiniest bit of quiet, contemplative Lent with my Lord each day. At the end of my life, I am going to carve out the tiniest bit of quiet, contemplative Lent with my Lord, so that I am ready to be raised with Him on my own Easter Day.


Whenever you fast, do not assume a gloomy expression like the hypocrites who contort their faces so that others may realize that they are fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head, wash your face, so that the fact that you are fasting will not be obvious to others but only to your Heavenly Father Who is hidden. And your Father who sees everything that is done in secret will reward you. Matt 6: 16-18

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