Loving Lent

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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

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children’s fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa’s articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

2 Comments

  1. I could really relate to your article today. I have spent many years being very involved “hands on” in our parish ministries such as religious educ., Marriage Preparation, Womens Club, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Angel Food, Choir & Youth Group sponsor. After a while, you have certain “expectations” of yourself. It seems as if even the “C & E Catholics” observe lent, & here I am & I feel like a failure because I’m about a week + into Lent & haven’t yet decided what to give up!

    Today, I began by making up a list of possible meals for Ash Wednesday & the Fridays of Lent. Before I knew it, I actually felt VERY involved in my own Lenten process. I am even thinking of Posting my list on my Facebook page. This is not to brag, but to possibly be helpful to some of my friends who may find the task of preparing “meat-free meals for several weeks in a row; daunting to say the least. I will devote each meal I prepare to those in need of Gods Grace and pray that each meal that I plan be modest, healthy & meat-free.

    Thank you for your insight!

    Sheila

  2. Reading your post made me realize that I have a long way to go to accept my husband not being Catholic and that I really need to do it. I am always inspired to hear you discuss your many years before your husband joined the Church. It helps me remember my family situation is not unique. That I should always continue to pray for his conversion, but not let his journey overwhelm my own.

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