Thursday, February 23, 2012

Glory awaits us at the end of a difficult journey

A few short weeks after returning to work from my long maternity leave, I changed jobs. The new job comes with a long commute, so in the interest of establishing a positive habit to help me cope with this new stress, I committed myself to praying the rosary daily.

The church actually designates certain days of the week to meditate on one of the four mysteries of the rosary during prayer: the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday; the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Saturday; and the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday. The Glorious Mysteries fall on Wednesday, allowing you to focus on the Resurrection of Jesus, the Ascension into Heaven, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, The Assumption of Mary into Heaven and the Coronation of Mary.

This past Wednesday I turned on my Rosary Army podcast to pray the Glorious Mysteries when it occured to me that this is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It felt wrong to be focused on the Resurrection instead on the Passion of Christ. But if you’re supposed to meditate on a different mystery for Ash Wednesday, I am unfamiliar with the practice. Then I considered that maybe this happens on purpose. After all, Ash Wednesday always comes on Wednesday, which is traditionally assigned to the Glorious Mysteries.

Yet as I prayed, I became very aware that I am entering this solemn season of introspection, preparation, and repentance, focused not on the sorrowful sufferings of Christ, but instead looking ahead to the reward that awaits us at the end of the journey. I’m facing this season of challenge knowing full well what’s promised to us: the new life and new hope that springs forth from Christ’s Resurrection. We know that our prayers and sacrifice during this Lenten season will mean something. We know what will come – that glorious resurrection and ascension into Heaven – opens the way for us to follow.

But what about the other areas of our life where we face challenges, where we experience suffering? Do we have faith that we will emerge from that time of our life in a better place? Do we allow ourselves to grow from the experience? Do we hold true to Christ’s promise that we will see glory at the end of suffering?

Lent is a season of conversion and self-examination. Use this time to make new promises, change behavior, and embrace good habits. Take yourself a little bit more out of “this world." Turn away from corruption and misdirection, in search of something better. Surrender to the difficult challenges that will help you to be worthy of the promises and sacrifices of Christ.

Even though Lent is a time to be sorrowful and repentant, don’t lose sight that the Glory of the Risen Christ awaits us on the other side.


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