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"Feelin' happy Lent is over" by Tommy Tighe (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2013), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] I always liked Lent. As early as I can remember, I have always wished that the entire Liturgical Season could be more like Lent. I’m a fan of the Lenten Liturgical music, the intense Gospel readings, the many facets of the sufferings of Christ we can meditate on, and I love giving something up and making a sacrifice. To me, it always seemed like Lent was Catholicism at its purest; the faith at its highest moment. When I finally got around to jumping head first into social media back around 2015, I was stumped by one of my favorite follows on Twitter, Sr. Helena Burns, FSP, talking about how much she disliked Lent. What?! How could a Catholic religious sister dislike Lent?  Sure, I could understand how the joy of the other points in our Liturgical Season felt better, but I was baffled that anyone would not love Lent as much as me. Enter 2018. I always try to make a sacrifice during Lent that I have a hard time with; suffering a little bit is kind of the point, after all. But this year, I admittedly went over the top. I struggled to maintain my commitment, to be honest, and found myself continually asking “Why did you do this to yourself?”. I flirted with the idea of giving up, and at some moments even tried to convince myself that my sacrifice was probably a bad idea. For better or for worse, I pushed on, and while I made it through Holy Week holding fast to the sacrifice I committed to back on Ash Wednesday, I have to be honest and admit that this Lent was miserable. It was miserable precisely because it was hard, and if I’m being honest with myself, I really prefer when life is easy. And because it was so miserable, I feel like I finally understand where Sr. Helena Burns has been coming from this whole time. I really disliked Lent and I’m really happy it’s over. And that’s kind of the point, right? By making a difficult sacrifice, maybe one that was a bit too much for me, I finally feel an overwhelming sense of joy that Lent is over and that the Lord is resurrected. It’s the kind of joy that has escaped me when I’ve gone through Lent with smaller sacrifices, and it’s the kind of joy I want to hold onto as I move throughout the rest of the Liturgical year. With about 11 months until our next Lent, I encourage you (and me!) to think about a sacrifice for Lent in 2019 that would push us a little further; a sacrifice that seems a bit crazy. It might just be crazy enough to help us all feel the joy of Easter like never before.
Copyright 2018 Tommy Tighe