Sunday, 20 April 2014

Lent is Over

Lent is over. Christ is risen (Alleluia!). What do we do now? Easter is certainly a time for joy and feasting and merrymaking. We are no longer necessarily bound to the sadness and austerity of Lent. For Christ has risen, He is victor! We now celebrate that the mystery of our redemption has been accomplished, that Christ by His death and resurrection has merited for us the graces to escape from the bonds of sin and enter into the glory of Heaven; and this is obviously a cause for real joy. 

But the liturgical seasons are more than mere commemorations or aids in the remembrance of the mysteries of our faith. Lent, as with all the liturgy, must bear real fruit in our actual spiritual lives. I have stressed a bit lately, in my traditionalist discussions, that the liturgy is more than just a teaching aid: it is a source of real spiritual nourishment for the soul. This nourishment meets the needs of the soul in various ways. The various liturgical mysteries pertain to different aspects of every man's spiritual life. The mystery of Lent, although it is practiced with more severity and focus only at a certain period of the year, has nonetheless a constant significance and application to the spiritual life of man. Lent is a reminder of man's sinfulness, and his consequent need for penance, mortification, and ultimately a completely abandonment of self to God. This abandonment to God is not meant to practiced only for forty days out of each year. It is something that must be practiced at every single moment of every single day in the life of every single man, if he is to attain the perfection of holiness. 

So while the season of Lent is now over, and we have entered into a time of rejoicing, nonetheless the most essential mysteries of Lent are no less relevant. While we rejoice now in commemoration of these mysteries, we must still ever remember that, in the bigger picture, we are still sinners who rely completely on the saving grace of God. The mysteries of Lent, and so much more that we are taught by the liturgy, are not just something to be commemorated in the way that past events are remembered or fantastical speculative theories are learned. They have a real and concrete significance for our lives in the here and now, at every moment. With every word we utter, action we perform, thought we conceive, we are engaging with these mysteries at the concrete level. Are we doing so as well as the liturgy teaches us that we ought to do?

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