This Joyful Season of Lent


Lent does not immediately inspire in me a feeling or expectation of joy.  However in Preface 1 of Lent we read:

For by your gracious gift each year your faithful await the sacred paschal feast with the joy of minds made pure…..

Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of the great sacred paschal feast, the central mystery of our Christian faith.   Hopefully we can accept the gift of these forty days in the spirit of the Preface 2 which reads:

For you have given your children a sacred time for the renewing and purifying of their hearts, that, freed from disorders affections, they may so deal with the things of this passing world as to hold rather to the things that eternally endure.

I suggest that one way of praying through these forty days of  Lent is to supplement praying with the daily scriptures by praying with the various prefaces for the Sundays and days of the week.

I often begin Lent with a serious resolve to pray more of do some discipline of fasting but by the end of the forty days feeling a bit disappointed with myself.  I am not going to completely give up on some of this self- discipline…  The Lord knows and so also my brother Jesuits know that I can use more self-discipline in my life.  However my plan or rather my hope and prayer is to ask Mother Mary to Journey with me during this Lenten season.

Let me add that some twenty years ago, when once again I made the Spiritual Exercises, as I prayed with the wedding feast of Cana, Mary insisted that I dance the Irish reel with her.  So who better than Mary to accompany me through this Joyful Season of Lent?

Bill Clarke, SJ, is a member of the team of spiritual directors at Loyola House of Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph and continues his commitment to L'Arche.

  • Susan Garbett+Snidal
    Posted at 03:56h, 26 February Reply

    What a wonderful and inspiring start to Lent! Oh, I would have liked to see Mother Mary and you dance an Irish jig! My dad and grandfather would approve! Fer sure!

  • Ann Ascoli
    Posted at 06:59h, 26 February Reply

    Great suggestion ! I have never truly meditated on the prefaces of the Mass. Thank you !

  • Vicky Chen
    Posted at 08:08h, 26 February Reply

    Thank you, Fr. Bill, for your insightful suggestion of reading and praying with the preface of Mass, daily and Sunday. Perhaps it will lead me to follow some small action in my daily life. Oh yes, I need to remind myself constantly what Mary said, “Do whatever He tells you.” Our ‘little grey cells’ and heart simply can never compete with the ancient Deceiver. Let us pray for this crazy world and the passion & crucifixion of whole nations. Let us remain joyful in suffering. Blessings to you and thank you again!

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 09:17h, 26 February Reply

    Thank you Bill!!

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