Lent is a solemn and sober season. It is at once my most favorite, and one that I do not always look forward to with eagerness, but I do look forward to it with a certain spiritual sobriety and longing.
In 2008 I fasted particularly strongly: no noise, music, or auditory stimulation at all. The only music, conversation etc occurred every Sunday at Mass. It took me a good two weeks after Easter to turn the radio on in the car. I cannot fast that way this year, however I am curtailing my music choices. I’m cutting certain practices out, and resuming some spiritual reading. What I mean by cutting certain practices out, is not like giving up chocolate or not watching television to gain more time to read. Rather I’m gouging out unsavory practices: habitual sin. I know that it’s going to flare up before it ceases, but it will end.
As Lent is somber, there’s a pervasive element of despair. It’s the desert season: without water, without seeming refuge; exposed under scrutiny however painful. It’s a time that I give myself permission to spiritually flounder, and I pray for it as well. I know that I need pruning and trimming. It’s a difficult process, but in being aware that I need to go through it, I have to let it occur. I do not like it. I do not willingly seek it out in joy.
Do we enjoy scrubbing the toilet? No, but wouldn’t you rather have a clean toilet to purge into when you’ve got food poisoning? Well, it’s the same spiritually. We need to enter into Lent and it’s sobriety to purge our Souls.