Sometimes I think Lent is viewed by Catholics more as the butt of jokes than as an opportunity for growth in holiness. Probably that’s because we have built it up in our minds as an excruciatingly long period of complete misery.
I would submit that if that’s how you view Lent, you’re missing out. I don’t like fasting and “giving up” any more than the next person, but it’s hard for me to turn this 6 1/2 weeks into a time of wailing and gnashing my teeth when it coincides with the explosion of life returning to the world. God’s got a message in there for us, if we’re just willing to look for it.
Misery that is self-inflicted and meant to be endured with gritted teeth isn’t likely to lead to lasting conversion. What is? Approaching this time as a conscious and joyful (if often difficult) search for God in the real world as it returns to life around us. Bring Lent To Life takes the major themes of Lent–fasting, almsgiving, prayer, baptism, penance, Passover, and the Passion–week by week, with ideas for helping everyone in the family transform this into a season for growing closer to God.