04 April 2015

a Lenten season of comfort

Today, Holy Saturday, brings us to the end of Lent.  At the beginning of Lent, on Ash Wednesday, I quoted Henri Nouwen:  “I know that Lent is going to be a very hard time for me.  The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life.  I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions.  There are not times or places without choices.  And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.”

I wonder how well my observation of the Lenten season has gone.  I can’t really say that it’s been “a very hard time for me.”  (To make that claim would be to ignore, say, the latest crops of martyrs in Egypt and Kenya.)

But we need not go to that extreme!  As Nouwen says, choosing God’s way “has to be made every moment of my life.”  It’s been observed by wiser folks than I that how we spend each day is how we spend our lives.  During Lent, I’ve taken too much time as a vacation from Lent.  Not that Lent is supposed to be gloomy and painful, but there is a certain amount of self-reflection and self-discipline involved. 

I’m not advocating breaking out hair shirts and engaging in self-flagellation.  (That is hardly very comfortable!)  I fear that I’m more American than I am Christian.  And we Americans do enjoy our comforts.  Most of us like creature comforts for that very reason:  they’re comfortable!

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