I went to church today, with no expectation but to fulfil my duty as a good Catholic to go to Mass during Ash Wednesday, a day of obligation. And besides, I love to go Mass... But today's Mass another special blessing!
The choice of songs, the readings, and the liturgy were perfectly orchestrated. The effect was (yet another) mini-epiphany (well.. it may not be to a lot of people, but we must remember here that I'm a self-confessed lapsed, 'lay' Catholic) for me.
Lent marks the beginning of the season of penance and penitence. Its culmination takes place in the Passion of the Lord, followed by Easter. In the coming forty days or so we are expected to deny ourselves physical gratification, by practising fasting and abstinence, as well as doing special penance acts. Since I'm already mostly vegetarian in any other seasons, physical 'suffering' from not eating meat is no suffering at all. What suffering is to me right now, is completing the station of my life: last semester of college and it's never been so tough to pull through...
And today's Mass has revealed to me that suffering, is a way to get closer to God. Through suffering we identify with Christ, and we can understand and appreciate more the meaning of His Sacrifice for us. (Haven't watched Mel Gibson's Passion yet, it's not showing in Singapore until April!) Hence, it was truly a new source of inspiration: that by persevering and suffering through challenging times such as these, we will get closer to Him. And whatever it is I'm going through, it is not the ultimate suffering, for the ultimate suffering for any soul (I think..) is being denied the vision of God. So I'll persevere, I'll take up my cross, because I know with each step I am growing closer to see the face of God :)
To all Catholics out there: Have a blessed Lent!