ash-wednesdayI know it's hard to believe, but Lent is here again! As we begin our Lenten Journey with Ash Wednesday, we remember that we are invited on a journey. We are reminded of times of giving up candy, television, deserts. We might remember cheating, failing, and then giving up all together, all in order to start again next Lent. But Lent doesn't have mean, nor should it mean, this simple giving up "just because" you have to. Our sacrifices made during Lent are meant to bring us towards joy; the "Joy" of freedom and renewal through the power of Christ's Resurrection and our Redemption. But in order to appreciate and enter deeply into the mystery and experience of Resurrection, we must first journey through the 40 days in the desert of Lent.

Author Marilyn Gustin wrote a book for Liguori Publications entitled, "Choosing Joy for Lent". She outlined the need that we have to seek out our transformation through the seeking out joy in life. We are invited to open ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit through six methods: detachment, surrender, contentment, noninjury, discipline, and contemplation. Detachment, or as St. Alphonsus said, "Distacco" means a letting go. It is the opposite of attachment. When we cling to things in life beyond their normal significance, then they possess us.

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Detachment is an invitation to see that we need to focus our attachment elsewhere.

Surrender opens our hearts and our hands to let go of our attachments, but also to be in a position to receive. Receive what? That depends on how open we allow our hearts and hands to be to God's love and grace.

Finding contentment means to find peace and delight everywhere. You notice simple and beautiful things in life when you are not hampered with "things".

Non-injury is the effort to do no harm. Simple as that.

Discipline is the finding of inner strength to achieve a goal. It requires practice and freedom of heart to take on a discipline. We discipline ourselves always toward becoming better in life.

Contemplation is a centering of our whole being on God, and entering the mystery and wonder of God's creation.

So look for ways this Lent that you might deepen your prayer, your reflection, and your quest to find Joy in the midst of the quiet desert of your heart. Through scripture, meditation, and journaling, find opportunities to allow your openness to be an invitation for God's love and God's joy to find a home in you, so that you may know richly, the joy of the resurrection in your life.

Happy Lent!

Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R. | https://stpatrickstoronto.wordpress.com/lent-2015/findingjoythislent/

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