How Was Your Lent?
How was your Lent?
Were you 100% faithful to all areas of penance? How was your almsgiving? Your fasting? Your prayer? Did you avoids the foods you said you would give up? Did you make exceptions? Did you do stuff you shouldn’t and then justify it? How was your exercise routine? Did you volunteer the way you intended? Did you give the extra money you said you would? Did you do the Liturgy of the Hours and the rosary the way that you wanted to on Ash Wednesday? Did you grow in virtue or did you fall?
Please forgive the hot take, but it doesn’t matter.
Lent doesn’t save us. Easter saves us. That bears repeating. Easter saves us.
Penance matters to us as Catholics; however, there can be a creeping sense that we can force our own holiness. We would never say it, but there is an implicit sense that we can will ourselves to sainthood. This is especially true for Catholics in the United States where we act as though “if some is good, more is better” is a spiritual axiom.
But Lent doesn’t save us. Easter saves us. Jesus saves us.
It is striking to read the the account of Moses’ death at the end of Deuteronomy, “Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” (Deuteronomy 34:10) All of Israel was waiting for a prophet who spoke to God face to face. You and I are now that prophet. In baptism, in the Easter waters, we were baptized as priests, as kings, and as the prophets who speak to God face to face, as though with a friend.
On Good Friday, the Lamb of God was sacrificed for sin. He is the once and for all sacrifice for sin, but Easter brings us to something that surpasses the forgiveness of sin. It brings us to intimacy with the Father.
This is the intimacy that Jesus has with the Father and this is what has been opened to us with the empty tomb.
Death has no more say and sin has no more say. Lent doesn’t save us. Easter saves us.
Through the Easter sacraments, we are joined with Jesus. Being joined with Jesus, he shares with us, we have koinonia with, his relationship with the Father. When he emerged from the tomb, death and separation from the Father were destroyed. The celebration of Easter is the celebration of the fact that we now have a face to face relationship with the Father that will last for all eternity.
Speak to the Father. Hear the Father. Hear the Father say, “You are mine and you are mine forever. You will live with me forever because my Son, your brother and Savior has conquered everything that could ever separate you from me. Come. Let’s be together now and always.” This is salvation. This is what Easter brought to us.
Lent didn’t save you. Easter saved you.