Lent is my favorite part of the Christian year. I have been known to make a few jokes about what I'm giving up, etc, but I like Lent. It is a time when we do some serious soul searching. I like Advent, but Lent is something special, to me.
It is not about 'giving up things for Lent'. This year I don't even miss the soda I'm not drinking. A few years ago Fr. Peter said we give up things in order to improve our lives, and not to make a show. I now find myself agreeing with it.
I am an Easter person, to the point where I've been known to argue with with members of the clergy about the importance of Easter over Christmas. As Christians, I don't think we make a big enough deal about Easter and the implications for our lives. I still can't get over the fact that a person would willingly choose the horror of one of the most violent deaths conceived by man's inhumanity. I can't get over that a person who knew what was coming would chose that death. Imagine, being the one absolutely perfect person ever, knowing what lies ahead, and going along with it - with grace.
As Christians, I swear we don't pay enough attention to this.
The Pink Flamingo has said very little about the problems my family has been facing during the past six weeks. Rather than go into a litany of what has happened, I've put it into a blog, The Pink Flamingo's Father.
It is not a quirk of fate that the timing of this, and another major family crises has occurred right about Lent. These past six weeks have been some of the most difficult in my life, from a family perspective. It has literally been the changing of the guard. I've had to face the fact that my parents have reached the point where I'm now in charge. It is forcing me to accept the one thing I've avoided my entire life - growing up!
Thursday night was one of the darkest nights of my faith. It was like everything was piling up on top of me with the parents, and everything else. I reached out to a very wise woman, who had once told me to look to the Laments in the Psalms. I wasn't quite sure how to get to the Laments on the Kindle, so I just started reading Psalms. I managed to read about 30 of them, but Psalm 22 was like someone throwing a bucket of cold water in my face.
Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility
To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 ‘Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!’
9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth,
and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls encircle me,
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs are all around me;
a company of evildoers encircles me.
My hands and feet have shrivelled;
17 I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.
25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live for ever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it.
Those words did it for me, like that bucket of ice cold water.
I am so busy complaining about my problems that I don't realize the Lord has a plan for us all. David wrote that Psalm that was literally a prophecy about Christ's crucifixion.
How dare I complain? So, my life isn't perfect. I'm not getting my way. My heartache is nothing.
Consider the case of one former James Bond.
"..."God has been good to me. My faith has been good to me in the moments of deepest suffering, doubt and fear. It is a constant, the language of prayer … I might not have got my sums right from the Christian Brothers or might not have got the greatest learning of literature from them but I certainly got a strapping amount of faith."
Brosnan also feels that faith will help the Irish people escape the gloom and doom of recession.
"But there is one thing that the people of Ireland know how to do and that is to survive. You have to keep your faith and stay optimistic,” he feels...."