What I'm Doing for Lent
A few years ago, I received an 11th century bronze Byzantine cross much like the one pictured above; and ever since, I have taken it from its box at Lent to wear every day until Easter.
This little cross is a thousand years old. Over highways and byways and seaways, it made its way from its provenance in Cyprus to a British jewelry shop- and when I wear it, with it glaring explicitly from my neck to make any instance of sin quite embarrassing, I remember that this is Lent, that Lent is the journey of a pilgrim over highways and byways, to the promised Resurrection of the Crucified Lord, in whose rising I hope for my own.
Lent is the time when Christians prepare to celebrate Christ's Resurrection for all the world to see. Lent is the time when we vividly recall that in His resurrection, our world cannot remain our home; rather, we are set at our baptism on a journey to His home. Lent is the time of pilgrims, who eat pilgrim food, endure a pilgrim's discomforts, think pilgrim thoughts of a soft and familiar home left far behind, of hard climbs ahead for the sake of arriving at the promised Kingdom where the Lord reigns who has conquered our death.
I am a Lenten pilgrim too, with my far-traveled cross around my neck. In the journey ahead, I will do what such pilgrims do- I won't be eating the sweet things that sojourners find on their tables. I won't be drinking the wines and spirits which become deadly at high altitudes. I will be far, far away from my daily dose of NPR and CNN, and so I will only have beautiful music to fill my ears and songs to sing to my Savior. Needing to streamline my burden for the journey, I will show up for an honest and thorough confession very soon, I will pay my parking tickets and take up the disciplines that have been lacking in my life, awaiting re-awakening. I will ask frequent forgiveness of my friends and family. Having only the sky to search as I tread my hiking trail, I will meditate on the healing virtues which can be mine through the grace of God. And because I travel this route with a pack of fellow pilgrims, both present and gone before, I will be following their time-honored example; on Fridays I will fast, I will remembering the Passion of our Lord on my rosary, I will stay put for extra hours of intercessory prayer for the people I love. ...And that will be my journey. Pray with me.