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Lent is a time of joy PDF Print E-mail

13 March 2011: First Sunday of Lent

Last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of another season of Lent.

Those older among us might remember this season as one which we used to dread. It was a time for ‘giving up’ something enjoyable. Children were encouraged to give up lollies, for example. We tried to give up smoking for Lent. It was a time of fast and abstinence. (Many years ago I lived in a community with a very good Jesuit priest who gave up drinking alcohol for Lent. He was grumpy and difficult to live with during this time.)

It might come as a surprise to realise that the Church proclaims that Lent is a time of joy. "Each year You give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed. You give us a spirit of loving reverence for You, our Father, and of willing service to our neighbour. As we recall the great event that gave us a new life in Christ, You bring the image of your Son to perfection within us." (Preface of Lent I)

Think of what many people put themselves through in order to lose a few kilos of weight. Think, too, about how guilty people feel about putting on weight, or that they still smoke cigarettes.

Recently much is being made of the advantage of ‘self control’ for our lives. In an age which emphasises instant gratification, children who are taught self control are more likely to lead successful and happy lives.

However, this Lent, rather than ‘giving something up’ perhaps we could attempt to be joyful to those around us. We could attempt to give of ourselves and what we have to others. The Lenten Project Compassion is an excellent way of doing this.

Have a joyful Lent!

Fr Stan Lim sj
Parish Priest