Palm Sunday and the Shifts of Lent

Elizabeth Duffy has a strong piece on how Lent begins to feel, after a while:

It’s always around this time of year that I wish I had given up a noun rather than a verb for Lent—some thing, some arbitrary thing that in and of itself is not bad, but would just be a concrete thing to sacrifice, so that on Easter Sunday, I can partake of it after forty days of abstinence, and mark the end of the Sacrificial Season.

It is good to give up bad habits, like arguing, for Lent. It is good to do more positive things like praying early in the morning. The only problem is that if something is worth doing or not doing during Lent, then it’s worth continuing the practice after Lent.

The beauty and blessing of Lent is that it makes us uncomfortable, like that; it’s not good to be too comfortable; it makes us lazy, complacent and unaware. We cannot “succeed” at Lent; we’re meant to fail at it and realize our dependence on grace, and to be uncomfortable enough to shift.

Kathryn Lopez is wondering (as am I) where Lent went, and she goes to two modern women to help make the most of the next few days before the Triduum.

One place to start: If you have not already, meditate on the Pope Benedict’s Lenten message, which focuses on Heb 10:24): “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.” His reflection is here.

And, in case it helps get you going, I offer here two meditations (exclusive to K-Lo at Large!). One from a lay woman and another from a Sister of Life, both bright lights of the New Evangelization.

You’ll want to read it. It’s very helpful.

Meanwhile, do read Deacon Greg’s excellent Palm Sunday homily. It will make you shift a little, with discomfort, too!

It’s the shifting that’s important, though, as Joanne McPortland relates in a great piece:

They are tears that wonder what might have been had I swallowed my pride and tried harder, been kinder, been braver, been more willing to bend and forgive. They are tears that acknowledge that even the “best” divorce is a wound in the Body of Christ, an end to one unique partnership in life and ministry. They are tears that ask forgiveness of my ex-husband, of our son, of our families and friends and community. They are tears that signal a new kind of spring, the softening of a heart hardened against hurt for far too long. They are tears, in the end, of gratitude.

There’s nothing about any of that on offer at this weekend’s divorce expo, and I can see why. Contrition is kind of a downer, and there’s no money in it.

If you want to go even deeper — plumb the depths and feel the tightness in your chest a little — check out Thomas McDonald on “Mourning the Pierced One”

Finally, this is a Palm Sunday piece that will not discomfort you, and it may make you feel a bit innocent.

Happy Palm Sunday!

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About Elizabeth Scalia