I just spent the day at our parish's annual carnival. The theme this year is Mardi Gras, rather fitting as we prepare for Ash Wednesday this week. So for today's entry in the 7 in 7 challenge I thought I'd consider why I like Lent.
"Lent is a retreat that the Church gives us in order to re-focus on what should be first in our lives. The purpose of Jesus' life was to glorify the Father and save the world. ..Lent is not first a time of giving up but a time to re-choose to be the victim of Christ, the Lamb. It is a time to live the Beatitudes.”
I like the season of Lent. I like that it is a time to simplify and refocus my life on Christ. It is more than about giving up something, it is about drawing near to Jesus. This year I've decided to exercise a few disciplines aimed at improving my prayer life. I want to commit to going to bed at the same time as my wife, waking up 30 minutes earlier for prayer, and cutting out the TV in the evenings.
Deciding to go to bed with my wife may seem like an odd choice of Lenten sacrifice, but it really isn't. You see I'm more of a night person and I tend to stay up too late and not get enough sleep. It drains my energy physically, mentally and spiritually. I'm also apparently too dumb or stubborn to just go to bed earlier. I'm a creature of habit. Lisa, on the other hand, is not a night person. She's normally ready to turn in for the night by ten o'clock. So committing to going to bed when she does during Lent will hopefully get me to bed earlier, and allow me to wake up earlier for morning prayer. It should also have the natural effect of cutting out the time I waste at night on TV or meaningless time on the internet (did you know there's a site called iwastesomuchtime.com and I do waste time on it).
If I put the work in and stay committed to my Lenten practices for 2014 then I should enter the Easter season and beyond with new sleeping & prayer habits, a better marriage, and more focused energy on the important things in life. That's why I like Lent, it gives me an excuse to change my life and the grace to make it happen.