Many people see Lent as a very sorrowful time: a time to give up things we like, put on our sackcloths and ashes, and most importantly our frowns. I challenge you to do something different this Lent and be joyful. I am not saying that we should always be happy and put on a smile, but we should be joyful. People often believe these two words to be the same. But there is one big difference – joy is a virtue; it is a way of life. It isn’t just a passing feeling or emotion like happiness. We should always be joyful and there is no better time to foster this virtue than Lent.
When we give something up for Lent or try to do something extra we should not do it because it is just what Catholics do during Lent. Rather, we should do it as an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus. When we cut things out of our lives we will have more room for Jesus. Jesus’ love for us should be at the center of our joy. It is good and normal to feel sorrowful as we ponder on our Lord’s Passion and death and we can do this with joy. You might be saying, “What? Sorrow and joy?! That does not mix.” We should be joyful in the fact that Jesus loves us so much that He gives His life for us, that He forgives our sin, and that He saves us from death. Be joyful in our sacrifices this Lent and let them bring you closer to Christ.
Giovanni Vitale II