Lent is a Season with a Purpose
We’re all creatures of habit – some virtues, some vices – most just crazy.
I once lived with two friars in a house with three bathrooms. Perfect. (Especially since one was accessible only through my bedroom!) Except, one guy was in the habit of using the bathroom closer to his bedroom to shower and shave when he got up. And then, after breakfast, using the one closer to the dining room to brush his teeth. And didn’t want to go back upstairs to “his” bathroom. Which drove the third guy nuts since he wanted to put all his stuff – shower, shave, toothbrush – in one bathroom! A lot of back-and-forth… Yet the status quo remained until one of the two got another assignment.
And I know of another situation where a friar lived over his office, and his routine included reading the mail before he shaved. Which made him pace the floor muttering when the post came late. Shave before late mail? No evidence it ever happened.
With Lent upcoming in just a few weeks, it may be a good time to take stock of just how habitual we are – to take stock of the virtues that make us saints, the vices that make us sinners, and the craziness that drives others nuts.
Lent is a season with a purpose. Come Easter we receive new members into the Church. In readying for the Easter sacraments, we do well to remember Jesus’ indictment of the “scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites” when he told them that “you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
As new people join Saint Andrew, what are their chances of becoming better people and Christians because of the virtues they can absorb from our life together?
In these weeks of what the Church used to call “pre-Lent,” we might give some thought to those in our lives who gave us great examples of life and faith. What was it about them that we admired? What did we absorb from them? And what of their example could become our example? Having “the end in mind” we can then look to what our Lent should be.
There’s nothing less compelling than a Lenten penance that has a 40-day shelf life. By Lent’s second or third week we find ourselves counting the days until we can get back to the “same old, same old.”
Surely, Easter is meant to be more than that!