Lent and Advent are my favorite liturgical seasons. Lent more so because of its message of hope in the mercy of God, Who is loving and merciful to any who would ask.
I do not "give up" things for Lent; I take on new practices such as more prayer, acting with a stricter decorum, and doing more kindness for others. The things I do my best to abstain from are anger, jealousy (which is a huge stumbling block for me), and bitterness.
This year my goal for Lent is to deepen my monastic practice. I have taken on an extra daily prayer office which is done in silence in the middle of the night. By doing so I hope to gain a deeper reverence for my own monastic practice, as well as to join those monks and nuns who are more austere in their communal practices of prayer.
I have also taken on more solitude, in hopes that the silence I experience will lead me closer to the heart of the Creator, also known as Carmel, so that I might find the deep and resounding joy that many others have experienced in this way. As I mentioned in an earlier post, loneliness can be transformed into holy solitude through prayer and meditation, and if we have faith in a Divine Being, we are never truly alone.
I share all of this with you, dear readers, so that you might also find hope during this season the spiritual desert. Be glad and give thanks for even the smallest things in your life, for gratitude leads to joy.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.