Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lent Is a Time of Penance and Joy

Wow, it has been four years since I last wrote on this topic (The Black and the White) .  Not surprisingly, it was also just around this time of the Church year--Lent, a time of penance and joy. In that post, I focused on the reason for joy that underlies our penance, a joy that springs from true hope.

Thinking back, that was early 2008, before things really went south with our economy, and so now, in 2012, even though there are glimmers of economic improvement, we know that these have been truly hard times for many people, times that doubtless have seemed without hope for some. And for people of faith in the US, it seems our government is working against us now more than at any time in the past.

But we who know Christ know that no matter how dark it seems in our circumstances, we can and should still have hope, a real hope that outshines whatever darkness we find ourselves in.

The everlasting and infinite mercies that God condescends to pour out on us through his Son truly are an inexhaustible source of hope from which our ineffable joy springs eternal.  Let us not forget this during these dark times, and let us take on our penitential disciplines with a renewed sense of this hope and joy.

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: “For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.”  
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.