This past Sunday, a couple of people told me that they really don’t like Lent. Of course, I inquired as to why. The responses were similar. “I don’t like giving things up.” “I hate the fact that I have to give up meat on Fridays.” “It is such a long, drawn out season of sadness.” I have to admit, I was not surprised by these comments. Growing up a “cradle Catholic” Lent has been a season that I didn’t always enjoy. However, as I aged and experienced Lent after Lent after Lent, I realized that the 40 days are a great gift; a time in the life of the Church when I can reflect on my relationship with God and with my brothers and sisters. The comments regarding giving things up and meatless Fridays are typical of what a good number of Catholics feel. When we focus solely on these elements, it is easy to be bogged down by a feeling of doom and gloom. However, the spiritual journey that we embarked on Ash Wednesday is meant to be a time when we can experience the immense love that our God has for us. The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus are concrete events that prove that the love of God is so great that God the Father allowed His very own Son to endure the harshness of the Cross whereby God experiences all of our pains and sufferings and allows them to be nailed to the wood of the Cross. Lent is not a time for us to walk around with sad faces and frowns. It is a time to be thankful to God for all that He has accomplished for us. Instead of dreading giving up something that you truly love or enjoy why not do something extra? What about attending daily Mass during the week? If you can’t attend each and every day why not setting one day a week and assigning that as the extra day for Mass. Here at Saint Mary’s, there are many ways that we can get our hearts and souls ready to enjoy the Resurrection. Remember: we will only get something out of Lent if we put something into it. The ball is in your court. How will you get yourself ready this Lenten season?