Events of past year make this Lent
a welcome visitor
It's not that Lent was disliked, just that this year it will be really special
By Debbie Lund
For the first time in my 43-year-old life, I can honestly say that I am looking forward to Lent and Easter with a whole new level of excitement and genuine anticipation!
I cannot say I ever "disliked" the Lenten season. I actually have many memories that bring a smile to my face as I reflect on Lent as a child.
I remember kneeling in the living room saying the rosary on Sunday night. Every year my mother would tell the same story with impermeable magnitude, how I was the first baby baptized that year with the Holy Water blessed Easter Sunday.
Every year I would hope my birthday did not fall on Good Friday because there would be no celebrating if that were the case.
As sure as Good Friday came every year, I could be assured that it would be a dark and cloudy day, at least for the afternoon. I didn't like winter and Easter gave me the sustaining hope that spring would not be far off.
The genuine anticipation this year initially took me by surprise. Why would someone look forward to Ash Wednesday, the Lenten penance, and the many scripture readings that occur during these six weeks?
Learning lessons over the year
Within seconds my heart, mind and soul knew only too well why Lent and Easter have taken on a changed perspective. I have learned, through observation, this past year of a whole new dimension and level of faith.
I have been blessed my whole life with Christian role models. But for the first time I comprehend with my every being what it meant to take our faith to a higher level.
I was witness to a person that really lived the faith in every action to a level I had never known! God's love was sincerely demonstrated and evident in every thought and deed. "Walking the walk" has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
My respect and admiration of this magnitude of faith came in great part because of what was not said and the unselfish humility in which things were done for people with absolutely no desire for any acknowledgment or anything in return.
I will walk the path with Jesus this Lenten season listening to the message for the "first" time with a new capacity to hear and comprehend. I will take comfort in the struggles our Lord Jesus experienced while in human form, as his death grew imminent. I will rejoice, as I have never celebrated before at the Last Supper and the Resurrection.
I have found the real meaning to life and faith as, like Mary, I experienced the death of my child eight months ago.
The human pain of loss has only found comfort in the fact that HE LIVES! Jesus' journey in this life is our hope for eternal life.
Walking with Jesus in her life
Kristin walked with Jesus along her journey in life. She knew him intimately in everyday interactions. She trusted him above everything and everyone. She exemplified his love.
Now she celebrates eternal life with him as a result of his dying on the cross.
My prayer for each of us this Lenten season is to experience, actually feel a faith stronger than we have ever known.
As I struggle along my 40 days and 40 nights of life, I doubt I will ever be able to demonstrate the magnitude of faith I have witnessed.
Now that I have been exposed to something greater than I have ever known, there is a longing, a desire to live the rest of my life striving to grow in my faith through my relationship with God and the examples I demonstrate in his holy name.
Easter is the sustaining hope that supports and strengthens us every step of the journey!
"I am the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in me will never die!"
(Lund is a member of St. Mary Parish, De Pere, and is a training supervisor at Humana in De Pere.)