“Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our Lord. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Some milestones in the Lenten season are literally a pleasure to celebrate as days for rejoicing or gaining new insight or simply making this journey of ours a bit more sentimental. When the liturgical calendar brought us the solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of the blessed Virgin Mary, on March 19, it was traditional and meaningful to have a parish party—a feast for the senses which help incarnate Eastertime love in god’s family.
During Lent, the Church asks us to prepare for Christ’s passion and resurrection by making small sacrifices, traditionally in the form of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. But why do we sacrifice? What is a sacrifice, anyway?
“What are you giving up for Lent?” In my youth, this question was fraught with the anxiety of choosing which I would rather give up for forty days: ice cream or chocolate. More recently though, I have tried to embrace the ascetic element of this liturgical season as an opportunity to examine how God is inviting me to let go and who God is inviting me to become.
Every year on February 22, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Confusing to many, this feast is less about an ancient piece of furniture than it is about the office of the pope and his role as a sign of unity and peace.