February 25 – Second Sunday of Lent

Well, we are in the season of Lent again!  And for some reason, every year the sacrifices seem to get harder, not easier. The thought might come across our minds: “do I have to sacrifice anything this year?”  It sometimes seems that we find ourselves going in circles. As we see in our yearly liturgical calendar, the weeks flow from Advent to Christmas into Ordinary Time, and from there they flow into Lent, Easter, and finally back to Ordinary Time again. We continue to see this cycle repeat each subsequent year.    

This repetitive pattern might look like we are going in circles, but what if there is something else going on. What if the Lord is using this pattern to help us enter more deeply into our relationship with Him?  One image that was given to me over 20 years ago has helped me tremendously in moving away from only going in circles. Instead, it helped me see the growth and depth that the repetition of the liturgical calendar has in our spiritual lives.  All you need to do is go to your nearby garage or wood shop; grab a wooden board, a screwdriver and screw.  When you start putting the screw into the board, it seems to simply go in circles if you looked at it solely from the top. You only need to look at it from the side to realize that the screw is not just stationary, but it is going deeper into the board!   

People may not like repetition, but it is in the repetition, the going in circles, that we can actually enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery of God: his Passion, death, and Resurrection. It’s the constant sacrifices that allow us to enter into the greater joy of Christ’s Resurrection! So, if you are frustrated that it is the Lenten season again, I encourage you to look at the ways the Lord is trying to grow deeper in relationship with you. Then, I guarantee that the sacrifices won’t be so difficult!

“Brethren, Lent is already galloping past and the soul rejoices at the imminence of Easter, because by it, it finds rest and is relieved of many toils.”- St. Theodore the Studite  

Father Michael