Photo by Jim Forest
Please continue to journey with me this Lent as we are taught by those who have lessons to teach. So it is that today we are visited by Thomas Merton in the book Lent and Easter Wisdom from Thomas Merton from The Thomas Merton Institute for Contemplative Living. Let us stop and listen.
Lent Is Our "Holy Spring"Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast. It cannot be otherwise, as it forms part of the great Easter cycle.
The Paschal Mystery is above all the mystery of life in which the Church, by celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ , enters into the Kingdom of Life which He has established once for all by His definitive victory over sin and death. We must remember the original meaning of Lent, as the ver sacrum, the Church's "holy spring" i n which the catechumens were prepared for their baptism, and public penitents were made ready by penance for their restoration to the sacramental life in a communion with the rest of the Church. Lent is then not a season of punishment so much as one of healing. ~Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration, 113****
A Season of CelebrationSo if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself...So we are ambassadors for Christ...we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who know no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says
"At an acceptable time I have listened to yo, and on a day of salvation I have helped you."
See now is the acceptable time; see now is the day of salvation!2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2
With faith in your resurrection, with hope in your power that undoes every death, I lift up my heart with love for you. She for your Holy Spirit who makes me more deeply your disciple. Crossing the threshold of this holy season, I renew my gratitude for the gift of being alive. On this Holy Wednesday, my forehead smeared with ashes, I accept my own death as holy: you have sanctified it. I offer my life and my death in thanksgiving to you, Jesus, the Christ, my Savior and my God.Lenten Journal
However you write in your Lent and Easter Journal, be truthful to your own experience. The question proposed for each day is only suggestive. Give your heart and mind free range. First question: In what ways do you consider Lent to be a :season of celebration"?