Anyway, although Lent is not as trendy as it used to be, it's still another chance to reflect and renew for those of us who have already blown our New Year's Resolutions. It's supposedly the 40 days leading up to Easter during which one makes sacrifices, large or small. Giving up something like wine or candy or desserts or swearing are popular disciplines. I like a positive spin, myself. More Masses during the week. More spiritual reading. More quiet time without cell phones or laptops, to just sit quietly and hear what's really going on. Now for those of you who can count, you will soon figure out that Lent is NOT 40 days. It's 47 days, and although Easter falls on April Fool's Day this year, that is not a joke. Here's the secret that many Catholics don't figure out unless they have a friend who happens to be a Canon Lawyer....Sundays don't count. The Resurrection is such a really big deal, that one celebrates Sundays no matter what. Which is as it should be, of course. It's the ultimate trump card (Please pardon that expression. I'm trying to eradicate it from my vocabulary.)
In all seriousness, we all need a Lent. We need a reminder that there is more to life than Words With Friends or Godiva Chocolates. Or even political affiliations. There is compassion and forgiveness. There is grace. And there is love. Above all there is love. And that's our job. To stop and feel the love God sends to us and to turn it around and love others. So maybe it's very appropriate that Ash Wednesday coincides with Saint Valentine's Day this year. And I'm tickled by the fact that Easter will be on April Fool's Day, because Jesus pulled off the biggest joke of all in proving that death is not the end after all, in spite of what people might think!
Enjoy your thoughtful journey.