I like to call Lent the “season of joy.” That might seem odd given that we mark these days with ashes, fasting, reflection on the sorrowful Passion of Jesus, and of course, our own sacrifices and penances… But that’s precisely why Lent can and should become a season of joy for every Christian—and not just “at Easter.” The reason is this: the more we empty our hearts of “self” and all those idols that we’ve erected (which we imagine will bring us happiness)… the more room there is for God. And the more God lives in me, the more alive I am… the more I become like Him, who is Joy and Love itself.
In fact, St. Paul lived a constant Lent—not because he was a masochist—but because he considered everything else that the world has to offer as nothing compared to knowing Jesus.
Whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him. (Phil 3:7-8)
Here is St. Paul’s not-so-secret path to authentic happiness:
…to know him and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death. (v. 10)
Christianity sounds crazy. But this is the wisdom of the Cross that the world rejects. In dying to myself, I find myself; in surrending my will to God, He wills Himself to me; in denying the excesses of the world, I gain the excesses of Heaven. The path is through the Cross, by conforming myself to Paul’s and Christ’s example:
He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave… He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:7-8)
Now, I can tell you all about swimming. But it’s not until you jump into the water that you will discover what I’m talking about. So, face your dysfunctions this Lent and stare them down. Because, in reality, they—not Lent—are the real drag on your life. It’s the compulsions, attachments, and sins that make us unhappy. So give them up—repent, turn from them—and discover for yourself how Lent will then become a season of true joy.
Want to do something different for Lent?
Last year, I produced a forty day Lenten Retreat, complete with audio for those who want to listen to it in their cars or at home. It doesn’t cost a penny. It’s a retreat about how to empty yourself so you can be filled with God and soar to the heights of happiness with Him. The retreat starts here with Day 1. The rest of the days can be found in this category: Lenten Retreat (because posts are listed according to the most recent, simply go back through Previous Entries to get to Day 2, etc.)
Also, you can help make this more of a season of joy by joining me in Missouri this month:
Strengthening & Healing Conference
March 24 & 25, 2017
Fr. Philip Scott, FJH
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Springfield, MO
2200 W. Republic Road, Spring eld, MO 65807
Space is limited for this free event… so register soon.
or call Shelly (417) 838.2730 or Margaret (417) 732.4621
The second event is:
An Encounter With Jesus
Mark Mallett & Fr. Mark Bozada
St James Catholic Church, Catawissa, MO
1107 Summit Drive 63015
Thank you for your alms this Lent…
They will keep this ministry’s lights on!
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