Thomas A Kempis said:
JESUS has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection. Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus—love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!
Talk about Lent to most folks and they either have no idea what you’re talking about, or they think it is some exotic season of superstition and (mardi gras) pomp. Yesterday I was at St. Arbuck’s and some young professionals were meeting for a work project. In walks a priest in a black cassock. After the priest left, one of the slick urban professionals said, “That priest thinks he is something dressing like that…he just wants free coffee or to show everyone else how hoooly he is.” At that point I caught one of the young ladies out of the corner of my eye pointing to me (I was wearing clericals, though no cassock) and whispering, ‘hey there’s another one!’ presumably so Mr. blowhard wouldn’t put his foot further in his mouth. The didn’t see her, however, and proceeded to say, “Yea that priest just wants to look like Neo,” to which I then replied, ‘Hey that’s why I dress this way…’
A perfect postmodern Lenten moment. No respect for religious leaders and suspicion over every motivation a priest/pastor might have. A misunderstanding of the clerical cassock and the black that it represents.
So do we still need Lent? How about priests?