Years ago, the pastor at my former parish had a heart attack the day after Ash Wednesday and did not return until Palm Sunday. He promptly announced that his Lent was not the one he had planned. Clearly not. He was thin and pale, and had been told by doctors he didn’t have long to live.
We often talk about what we are going to give up or do for Lent and this is well and good. However, sometimes Lent arrives and brings with it unexpected crosses that are suddenly hoisted on our unsuspecting shoulders. During those times, Lent can provide an opportunity. If we proceed in hope we will grow closer to Christ, who was Himself a man familiar with many sufferings throughout His life. We also can grow in virtue. Scripture says, ‘All things work for good for those who love God.’
There is no healthy choice but to proceed through our difficulties. Why not do so with God during this great season?
“In receiving His cross we are not to look at what it is made of, that is, on the nature of our sufferings. …We are to look only at the interior virtue, not the exterior form. Eternal life is hidden under it, …its afflictions carries eternal consolations.” — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Scripture is from Romans 8:28. Picture by Jennifer Balaska, 2012 public domain, Wikimedia