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Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Meaning of A Fast Lent

The word Lent is actually from the root word meaning longer days, as in those days past the Spring Equinox. The root may be lencten---long or longer day(s).

Lent seems long to some people who are not use to fasting or abstinence. Lent may seem long this year as it came so early, when winter lasted long into February and March with a vengeance.

Lent goes slowly for some, but for me, this has been a "fast Lent". In fact, I want it to go on longer. Because I am far away from a church, I did not get to Ash Wednesday or any Stations of the Cross. I cannot get to daily Mass and there is no adoration for miles. I cannot afford taxis, and buses do not run at night in this area, or on Sunday, and are irregular during the week.

My Lented penance has been the absence of Christ in the Eucharist, a fast imposed on me.

I feel that I have not practiced Lent long enough, that there is so much more purgation and suffering to endure and I desire to do this. Joy comes in suffering. This is the big change. Like the souls in purgatory, I want to suffer. I desire the purgation. I want to suffer for those certain people for whom I pray. Suffering is efficacious. I think I know how the souls in purgatory feel when they have had a glimpse of God in the particular judgment, but are not yet ready for heaven. They must feel torn between the loss of the Beauty of God, and the absolute need for suffering.

Dante has souls in purgatory leaping back into the fire with joy to continue their purgation. This is where I am-leaping back into the suffering with joy and pain side-by-side.

Easter is coming too fast. Perhaps, because I am older, and things appear to go more quickly to the old rather than to the young, Lent has been too short.

This Lent, I have come into a great peace and acceptance of suffering with the newish knowledge that God's plans are so much bigger and more mysterious than one can ever imagine.

The falling away of a lifetime of some oppressions and the awareness of a grand scheme in life, which is just revealing itself, has been part of this Lent. So many people have come into my life asking me for spiritual direction, I have accepted this new role, which started in Malta.

Remember my posts on "God makes new doughnuts every day"? Well, my Lent has seen the making of dozens of new doughnuts. 

But, like someone facing the day of death, I want more time of purgation. Easter is only two weeks away, too soon is the time for rejoicing coming upon me. I want the struggle to continue until the goal is met. I am still in the race and that goal is so far away, that like a person in a marathon, I have to keep on running without the ribbon in sight.

Some people feel that time slows down almost to a stopping point in great suffering. For example, when one is in the hospital with a serious illness or operation, time becomes strangely inverted as schedules are lost, as night and day become confused, as the calendar seems set aside.

Physical and mental suffering mess up one's awareness of time. I remember the happy days of being pregnant with STS. I was the envy of friends, as I never had any morning or evening sickness and felt better preggers than I did most of my life. And the time went so fast, getting ready, making a nursery, until the last few days, which seemed to drag on, as I waited for Baby.

Those last three days seemed like an eternity. Time slowed to a painful hour-by-hour waiting.

I am hoping that the last two weeks of Lent will "slow down", with the days becoming longer, I hope my awareness of God becomes more enlightened.

I am not ready for the great celebration of the Resurrection.

This has been a fast Lent.