So Lent is finally over, and the promises that were made just before Ash Wednesday are officially ended (most of them kept most of the time). The discipline that made the past season worthwhile doesn’t have the “scaffolding” of the days of liturgical purple any more. And so the question becomes: if the discipline was worthwhile, should it not be continued? But can something given up or added extra for a specific time actually be continued “forever”?
Some of the Lenten practices, no doubt, don’t need to be continued. There’s no pressing reason to continue giving up meat (either just for Lenten Fridays or for the whole of Lent). It’s OK to go back to indulging (within reason!) in the desserts, drinks, chocolates, and so on that were put on the “forbidden list.”
But what about some of the more spiritual things that were added to our days? Perhaps we embraced the praying of a daily (instead of a sporadic) Rosary—would that not be a good thing to continue? Or perhaps weekday Mass 2-3 times a week was something that during Lent would be a wonderful thing to keep in one’s spiritual life. And if the Rice Bowl project and all the extra second collections were things we felt called to give to, can our sacrificial generosity continue? The parish can always use a little extra in the way of donations, and so can other charities (of which, no doubt, you receive plenty of requests in the mail). Do you have 2-3 “favorites”? Perhaps you could bless them in the time outside of Lent, as well…
Pope St Leo I, back in the 5th century, observed that while prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are special to Lent, they are not exclusive to that 40 day season: they should be the life-blood of Christians at all times. Perhaps we could consider Lent as a “spring training” period getting us ready for the season, opening day of which is this glorious day of Easter. And in the risen Lord we have the best possible player-coach who can not only inspire us but also enable us. To paraphrase St Paul, in Him we live and move and have our being. And it’s going to be wonderful when we know experientially the love and power of the Resurrection. A simple YES to Christ will make us real players on the one team that really counts.
Blessed Easter to everyone, and remember: if the season of Lent is “40 days,” the season of Easter is 50 days (up to Pentecost)! We have (and deserve) more time to rejoice in eternal life than we need for penance—because He is our salvation; He is our Savior. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!!