Loving Lent

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Janet LaPlante focuses on life experiences and how they enable us to grow in our spirituality. Opinions expressed are the writer’s and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

Janet LaPlante focuses on life experiences and how they enable us to grow in our spirituality. Opinions expressed are the writer’s and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

I found myself waiting for Lent to begin on Ash Wednesday. I’ve been looking forward to this period of relationship with Jesus. I know what is coming for Him in His passion and death and I want to be there beside Him. Then I will rest with Him two nights until He rises in glory on Easter.

Why is this important to me? Well, it started way back in Catholic grade school where the nuns taught us all about giving up something and my Mom took us to every service and fixed the proper meals for us. I learned a devotion to Jesus that never left my heart. Now, as a mother and grandmother, I also feel so close to Mary, as she went through her Son’s agony walking beside him and standing at the foot of the cross.

So, I look forward to this day when the ashes on my forehead proclaim to the world that I am Catholic. I give up the sweets that are my addiction, a little selfishly because I know I will lose some weight. But, mainly, I want a daily reminder for 40 days that I am special to the Lord. He died for me. No other love is greater to any of us, but that saving love, which will allow us to spend eternity with Him.

I want to give something to Mary during the season also, as thanks for the motherly presence she has in my family. Her protection, tiny pushes, whispered advice, and loving hugs have been there at all the difficult times. What can I ever give her? I can meditate in front of the Eucharist, receive Her Son every day at Mass and pray the rosary for others. Most importantly, I can release my stress, my worries, my need for perfection, my attitude, my gossip, my busyness and anger. I can simply live and love in the grace of Lent, knowing what is to come will be a grace-filled life of happiness.

So, let’s get going. Choose what changes you want to make in your life and try it for a bit. Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself hugs and seek out those who love the Lord and you to help you on your way. Take it easy. We have been promised so much and all we have to do is live this life with love and gratitude. Spend some time with Jesus all alone. Ask Mary to help you when you are feeling lost. Simple things, nothing grand, but very powerful.

May these 40 days turn into a lifetime of peace and joy.

Janet LaPlante graduated from the University of San Diego, while it was still known as the Sacred Heart College for Women and the Diocesan College for Men. She wrote a column “Joy from Janet” for her community paper for seven years and her book, “My Children’s Children,” will be published in 2014. She has held many offices, including President of the Phoenix Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. She and her husband of 26 years have four children and sixth grandchildren. Janet’s writing focuses on life experiences and how they enable us to grow in our spirituality. Opinions expressed are the writer’s and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

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