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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Lent has come: taking stock in the silence

Bishop Robert Barron, in his video series, Catholicism, noted that Christ on the cross was, one might say, a happy man. The context was the Beatitudes, and those words all applied to him like no other. That turns the meaning of happiness on it's head because we in the 21st century have equated happiness with emotional or physical pleasure, perhaps more than anybody else in the past.

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the season of Lent. We hopefully remember that the Christian cross, and the doctrines on holy suffering and denying oneself or mortification, is essential to our salvation. Firstly. That is how Christ redeemed us, but that is how we, in our turn, abide in him. A lot of people don't realize that, while we have breath in or bodies, we continue to be at war with our concupiscence, our tendency to sin. It's like gravity that pulls us down. Like a bird in flight, if we stop flapping our wings, we gradually allow down and lose altitude. If that goes on further, at some point we land altogether. We have to keep going, perhaps pacing ourselves, but never stopping, avoiding slowing down. That way, we make better use of our momentum and avoid the bother of taking off again. Of course, there will be times when we do crash and fall. Not a problem, as long as we keep our resolve of faith. Lent helps is there, too.

Lent reminds us why we bother, keeping our eyes on the target rather than getting distracted by the sights along the way. It trains us for battle, too, because there will be moments when great sacrifices alone will win the day, for ourselves or for others.

Happy Lent! Onward!

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