A Lenten Reflection
Lent: It Isn’t About You! by Father Frank Voellmecke
“I know life has its ups and downs,” said the young lady to the young gentleman, adding in no uncertain terms, “But I want more ups!!!!!” [Exclamation points and very bold print in the original.] Many will recognize that we’re talking here about the beloved comic strip characters Charlie Brown and his nemesis Lucy. Dear Lucy clearly thinks it is all about her.
It isn’t only Lucy who could use a good dose of Lent; it’s all of us. We all need to hear the truth that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We didn’t make ourselves, and no one escapes the grave. It is not about us. That’s not where the buck stops. Genuine ups are found elsewhere.
Lent’s motifs tell us where to look: fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. The first two concern emptying ourselves, in a way that is mindful of those in need. The third is about filling ourselves, with deeper relationships: with the Lord Jesus who shows us the face of God; with God the Father who calls us “for the victory of justice” in this life, and to the fullness of joy when we see His face; with the Holy Spirit, the bond of love that doesn’t end. Now those are some real “ups” we can never get enough of! And they’re not about us; they’re about amazement at the goodness of God. And gratitude for God’s generosity, especially the invitation to live without end in the divine embrace.
A final note: our culture has lately made funerals into “a celebration of life,” presumably the life of the deceased, sometimes with little hint of gratitude for great godly gifts. To let that happen would be a real downer. Let’s have more ups, shall we? May your Lent and your Easter be full of them, ups that matter.