It has been said that there are two things in life that one can count on: death and taxes. As a Christian, I would add a third thing: Lent.
Lent was a time that, when I was a kid, we always gave up candy. We would spend our Lent thinking about how wonderful that first bite of the chocolate Easter bunny was going to taste—and it did taste wonderful because of having denied ourselves any candy or chocolate during those 40 days.
When I was in the novitiate of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Lent was a different animal. Lent in the convent meant more prayer, less food, more fasting, less recreation, more quiet. It was a particularly hard 40 days trying to wrap my head around what it meant to be a “nun,” while doing our Lenten disciplines. When Easter came, I went outside with my prayer book and remember how beautiful the day was: the sky was so blue with not a cloud in sight, the air was clear and fresh, the birds were singing, and some of the trees were in flower. While I was taking all this in, a strange thing happened: it seemed as though all the colors became more brilliant, and a strange quiet had come over the Mother House. It was as though our Lord knew of the hard time I had the previous 40 days, and sent me a reminder that He was there, that He loved me. I remember actually crying and truly feeling for the first time in my life that God did exist. Maybe if I had not had such a hard time of convent life those 40 days of Lent, I would not have heard God’s “still small voice.”
Lent: it’s a time when we try to be quiet, try even to deny ourselves a little. At the end of it, maybe we are then more receptive to God speaking to us. To me, that’s a wonderful thing!