I will not be taking part in the debauchery that has become Mardi Gras, but I will be indulging in a little extra food today, right up until midnight. I think I am prepared for Lent. I made a good Confession yesterday, and I have a plan for my penitential practices of the season. My plan is to go to the cemetery when I would normally eat breakfast, to pray for the dead and gain them their partial indulgence. I’ll also go to make a Holy Hour when I would normally eat dinner, to increase my prayer and devotion to the Saints.
But tonight, tonight is going to be a bittersweet feast. Sweet in that I’ll get to enjoy God’s gracious gift of food. Bitter in that tomorrow it ends, tomorrow everything becomes somber. Even though I have Saturday evenings and Sundays, those things will end quickly and we’ll be back into the suffering of the week before we know it. I hope, though, that I will be able to remain joyful by the grace of Christ. And that’s really what this is going to have to be about: utter dependence on the mercy, kindness, and provisions of God. It is going to be a very difficult, but fruitful season. Overall, I am very excited. Lent is something I need very much right now.
Now, as far as that last segment of the Church and last pillar of Lent go.
The Church Triumphant and Prayer
The Church Triumphant are those who live in heaven with God and see all truth, all goodness, and all beauty. They gaze day and night upon the face of God, upon the Lamb who was slain. Their souls burn with the passion of the beatific vision. They have persevered, have been purified and have had their wills made like God’s. Nothing they desire is contrary to God’s will. Nothing they do deviates from his plan. Nothing they ask for will be denied by the Father. Theirs is perfect understanding, like the angels. It is during this season that we lay our prayers and petitions before the thrones of the Saints. Their prayers are powerful. Their examples are excellent. If our goal during Lent is to become the perfect Christian, then we need look nowhere but the Saints who have become like Christ and offer us their assistance. The greatest Saint is the Blessed Mother, Mary, Mother of the King, Queen of Heaven and Earth. We strain to echo her yes to God’s plan. We strive to cherish and treasure the things of Christ in our hearts as Scripture says she did. We know that with Christ’s Passion, Mary’s own heart was pierced too, as if with a sword, so the Scriptures say. And so we renew our devotion to this woman who will bring us straight to the Heart of Jesus. For my prayers this season I will be rededicating myself to the prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours. I will also be renewing my devotion to Mary and to my Patron, St. Paul, by offering a Rosary each day.
How will you increase your prayers? How will you invigorate your prayer life, breathe new life into it? How will you unite your prayers with the perfect prayers of the Saints in heaven?