I admit it, the first thing that I thought of when I saw this picture was, “Hey, that’s me preparing for Lent!”
Take a look at it!
It is an artwork that depicts Adam and Eve being sent away from Paradise. To the right, there is Paradise looking lush and beautiful and… well… paradisic. And then, to the left, Adam and Eve are forced out of Paradise into a barren, cruel world by an angel that looks like it means business.
And it amused me because that is sort of my attitude toward Lent. Just the mere idea of giving something up for Lent makes me slightly grumpy. I don’t want to give up anything! I don’t want to sacrifice! Isn’t it enough just getting through the day?
And I can’t be the only one out there with this sort of mindset!
However, as I stared at this painting, it occurred to me that this sort of mentality was completely contrary to what Lent is supposed to be.
Lent is not supposed to be about giving up things as a sort of divine punishment.
It’s about walking — with Jesus! — into the wilderness.
It’s about cutting out the distractions from our lives — the unnecessary stuff that we fill our lives up with to entertain or amuse ourselves — and focus on getting to know Him again.
And yes, giving things up is a part of that. We should sacrifice something, because a huge part of Lent is about remembering Christ’s sacrifice. And, we should sacrifice something so we can unite this sacrifice — even if it’s comparatively small and tiny — to the Cross.
But this sacrifice is not a punishment. This sacrifice is not God driving us away. Au contraire!
We are running towards Jesus.
And that should give us hope.
On another note! I’ve seen a lot of people say that they want to pray the Rosary for Lent.
If you want to take up that beautiful devotion for Lent (and beyond!), may I suggest my books? They walk you through each of the prayers of the Rosary, one by one, and each prayer is illustrated with gorgeous religious artwork. The books really help me focus on the prayers of the Rosary and contemplate the mysteries, and maybe they can help you as well! 🙂