Sidney and I belong to a young adult Catholic group that draws from a couple of parishes in the Spokane Valley. This past weekend, Fr. Kevin Oiland was speaking about faith in terms of an adventure. It has a distinct journey that leads to a destination. The journey is of course one’s life on earth and the destination, hopefully, is eternal life with God.
It didn’t take long for us to apply this metaphor to another spiritual journey, one slightly smaller than the ultimate one described by Fr. Oiland.
Today is Ash Wednesday and thus the beginning of Lent. We will journey in our own temptation-filled deserts for 40 days before reaching our destination of Easter on April 4. Just like the journey for Salvation, this six-week voyage has the potential to be rocky. Sometimes the road can be a little treacherous but the key is to not let the conditions blind us from the plentiful opportunities of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.
This Lenten season I won’t be navigating alone. In 2013, I wrote about how Lent is a private time to grow spiritually and prepare for Easter. Three years ago, I focused more on the communal opportunities that this holy season also provides. So while I will individually try to draw closer to Jesus, I will also be walking Lenten Blvd. with a special person.
This is my wife’s first full Lent as a Catholic. She was welcomed into the Church last year shortly after Ash Wednesday but we spent most of the season apart because of the move out West. This year we will get to spend the entirety of Lent together as we trek hand in hand through that desert to Easter Sunday.
Is Lent easy? It shouldn’t be. Is it worth it? Absolutely. We need to properly prepare for Easter and Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to do that with his suffering in the desert. Let’s pray for each other as we go on our own Lenten journeys that not only will we be ready to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection this April but that perhaps we will take positive steps to the ultimate destination we hope to reach one of these days. Don’t Blink.