Just a few short weeks ago, my forehead was marked with ashes as I resolved to make this Lent a time of deeper reflection and sacrifice. WELL. I never would have guessed we would be here, or that the culmination of this Lenten season would be celebrated like this.
I’ve heard people describe this particular Lenten season as the one where we all gave up more than we bargained for. For many of us, this reality has caused deep sorrow and grief as the separation from our communities and the Sacraments leaves an impenetrable void. Our hearts are eager to be united with our Church through celebration and close to Jesus through the Eucharist, but this year, we give that up in an act of sacrificial love and obedience.
However, amidst this very real season of grief and disappointments, there’s comfort in the truth that Lent has never actually been about “giving things up.” The Catechism defines Lent as a sacred opportunity to unite ourselves with Christ in the desert (CCC 540). Yes, there’s fasting and yes, we are called to make sacrifices — but the purpose of this season is to unite our hearts with Jesus and walk with Him through this desert. It’s not about giving up, but raising up — our hearts to Heaven and our crosses with the Lord.
So, it’s not just a fast. It’s a journey — and as Christians, we know that this journey doesn’t end in the desert.
As we enter into this Holy Week, we recognize that this time of contemplation will look different. We won’t step foot into a Church — we probably won’t even leave our houses — but the truth of this mystery remains the same. Jesus still goes to the cross — amidst our deep pain and discomfort — and it changes everything.
Just as we journey through Lent with the knowledge that our suffering is not the end of the story — that Resurrection awaits us at the end of the journey — I want to invite you to celebrate this Holy week with the same conviction and hope that you held when this journey began. The reality is, this particular moment has separated us from receiving Christ in the Eucharist, but it doesn’t hold the power to separate us from His promise and His unrelenting grace.
The Lord went to the cross for this moment. He went to the cross so our pain and suffering didn’t have to be the end of the story. He went to the cross so He could be united with us, on Earth and in Heaven, and empower us to carry our crosses in this life until we meet Him in the next. He went to the cross so we would never have to know separation from the graces He pours out — and that promise remains truer than ever in our suffering.
The road we are walking this Holy Week remains unpaved and unclear, but His promises light our way. Let’s use this moment to enter into His Heart, unite our suffering with His, and rest firmly in the hope of the Resurrection.
Because it’s coming soon.