Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Darkness of Lent

I don't know about you, but this Lent has been hard! The crazy thing about it is I didn't give anything specifically up for Lent, not unless you call giving your life up to God giving up something.

I've been doing this Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for 23 weeks now and I'm just now wondering why the course doesn't come with a warning: DUDE! Run for your life if your not ready to lay it down! Don't go a step forward if you think this is a make you feel good kinda learning! If you think you've been stretched before, you ain't seem nothin' yet!!! Why is there no warning?!

I was talking with my Spiritual Director yesterday about this and wanted to know why I didn't know this to start with. He told me that St. Ignatius, (before he was Saint and was still just Dude Ignatius) came up with the exercises for the men who were thinking about joining the Jesuit Order to make sure the decision was of God and not of them. I believe this is a good thing he came up with, however I think modern folks should get a warning. I did find this in paragraph 21 this morning: The structure of these exercises has the purpose of leading a person to a true spiritual freedom. We grow into this freedom by gradually bringing an order of values into our lives so that we find at the moment of choice or decision we are not swayed by any disordered love.

So I sit here, looking out my window at the beginning of life that's happening in nature, I feel the call to the cross of Lent. What's it really about? Have we forgotten about the darkness of Lent? I think we have. This is the time to prepare to go to the cross with Jesus. We hear half flippantly, to lay down our lives, pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Is anyone really doing that? Or do we just "get through" this time so we can be all happy about Easter? 

This is the way I see it, candles should not be lit, black clothes should be draped over them. The cross should be covered, pastors should not be wearing white, and no happy or alleluia songs should be sung. This is Lent! 

So I do feel like I'm giving up for Lent, even if I'm doing it outside of  the church. It looks like they are trying to soften the blow once again of what Jesus did during his life and on the cross. It was death and it was messy! These are the days leading to the cross and we are afraid. Not wanting discomfort, we hide from the mess, doing ourselves a disservice in the process. 

Jesus is calling us all to get real with him in one way or another and we keep putting it off. I'm thinkin' that if Jesus hadn't gone to the cross, and we were waiting on us to do it, we'd still be waiting.      

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