Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
Still no chocolate. The struggle continues. ... No. End. In. Sight.
Seriously. I like Lent. I always have. I don’t know what that says about me since I also enjoy the feastly times like Christmas and Easter a great deal too. But this season has always had an odd connection for me: There was a time back in the early 80s when I was out of work and out of school and had nothing—and I felt absolutely free and alive as though the whole world was before me and I was on the threshold of an adventure. It’s the closest I think I’ve ever been to getting a glimmer of what St. Francis felt about the joys of Lady Poverty. For some reason, Lent always feels like that to me. I love the astringency of it—the barrenness that is not misery but something more like a beach with a clean sea breeze blowing in your face and hair. It’s like the chance to start all over.
What does Lent mean to you?