loving_lentIt occurred to me again this morning as I sat in 6:45 Mass watching my fellow parishioners proceed forward to receive their ashes - I have learned to love Lent.

It hasn't always been this way in my life.  I honestly have few recollections of childhood Lenten seasons, outside of fleeting memories of Friday night fish fry dinners and Good Friday stations of the cross.

For many years in my marriage, I hated Lent.  Ironically, serving on our parish's RCIA team should have made me love Lent even more, but in my heart it was a constant reminder that my husband was not Catholic.  Seeing candidates and catechumens filled with joy as they progressed toward the Easter vigil too often tore at my heart.  Instead of focusing on my own Lenten journey, I myopically obsessed about what wasn't happening in my husband's spiritual life.

Greg's conversion story is fodder for another post, but let me just say that in accepting his situation as it was then, after too many years of grief and envy, I learned to find peace in Lent, and now to truly love this beautiful season of our liturgical calendar.  We moms may feel so responsible for making sure everyone else in our families are doing Lent "right" that we neglect our own 40 days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

I am not suggesting we not celebrate Lent as a family, but rather that we not fall into the trap of feeling dejected if our family celebration of the season is not picture perfect.  This week and in the days to come, we will read and hear about wonderful ways to celebrate together as a family.  For a few moments today, take the luxury of pondering your own Lenten journey, as you hope it will be.  Know of my prayers for each of you, wherever you find yourselves this Lent.  May it be a time of great spiritual fruit and peace in your lives!

CatholicMom.com Lenten Resources