08 March 2016

Lent 2016: Week Four (The Rose Among Violets)

Four Weeks Down

Oh man. How was your week? Even though we've made it past the half-way point, I am really starting to feel Lent. Do you know what I mean? And it's not that I've taken up such difficult penances and religious practices or that I'm struggling to keep my life together. Rather, I have become more aware of how much of a wait Lent really is. Lent is six and a half weeks leading up to Easter, which sounds like a small amount of time from some contexts (a semester? a pregnancy?), but makes me think of how long of a wait it is until Eternal Rest. How many times will we know suffering in our own life or see it in another's? How many times will we ask, "Why?" or "When?" How many times will we flee temptation? How many times will we return sinful and sorrowful to our merciful God? (Perhaps I've been reading too many psalms of lament. I spent a lot of time alone this week, so that also makes me a bit morose.)

We cannot know the answers to these questions, nor can we know how many days we will be given until we face eternity. The latter should make us pause, examine ourselves and continue striving for sanctity. I'm hoping that each day of Lent guides me in that direction, in the direction of God and his goodness.

Appropriately, this Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lent) was Laetare Sunday, so called for the Introit at Mass, which begins "Laetare Jerusalem," which means "Rejoice, O Jerusalem," taken from Isaiah. Advent sees a similar day on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday. On both Sundays, the priest wears rose vestments, which show us a glimpse of the light to come through the dark violet surroundings of Lent. It will not always be Lent. Easter will come. It will not always be suffering and difficulty. Joy will come.


  • "Although thou shouldest possess all created good, yet couldest thou not be happy thereby nor blessed; but in God, who created all things, consisteth thy whole blessedness and felicity; not such as is seen and commended by the foolish lovers of the world, but such as the good and faithful servants of Christ wait for, and of which the spiritual and pure in heart, whose conversation is in Heaven, sometimes have a foretaste." (IOC. 3. XVI)
  • "And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay." (Psalm 16:9)
  • "King of kings, yet born of Mary, / as of old on earth He stood, / Lord of lords, in human vesture, / in the body and the blood; / He will give to all the faithful / His own self for heavenly food." (Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)
  • "Hail, Queen of Heaven; / hail, Mistress of the angels; / hail, root of Jesse; hail, the gate / through which the Light rose over the earth." (Ave, Regina Caelorum)

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