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If Lent is easy, you're doing it wrong

Risen One - artist Sommer Roman
Well, two days into Lent, and there I was: wishing I could have the very thing I had chosen to sacrifice. It would be easy to rationalize having it: "Well, I'll just choose something different" or "Maybe this wasn't the thing I was meant to give up". Of course, that would be wrong, but what's a good rationalization for, anyway?

If Lent is easy, then you're doing it wrong.

We Catholics get asked why we "give something up" for Lent. I suppose there are as many reasons as there are Catholics, but the real reason is this: Christ sacrificed for us, so we sacrifice for Him. Clearly, our small sacrifice comes no where near the enormous sacrifice He made, but it is intended to unite us with Him. We want to be reminded, every time we are tempted to pick up whatever it is we have chosen to put down these 40 days, of Him whom we love: pouring Himself into human form, taking on the devil, putting up with the foibles of humanity, and finally, that horrible, agonizing trudge up Calvary, cross on His shoulders, only to be killed in a most gruesome fashion. All that we may have life.

Our Lenten sacrifice is supposed to keep us in mind of that, more so than usual, as we pick our way gingerly through prayer, sacrifice and alms. We hope that, come Easter, we will be able to truly celebrate the Resurrection, having gained some minor knowledge of Christ that we did not have before, all because we chose a hard Lent.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.