I have a new article up at NewEvangelizers.com.
We are now in the season of Lent. As we all know it is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. If you are anything like me, Lent does not fill you with the same child-like joy that Advent does. And yet both are times of preparation. And they must both be times of joy.
Obviously, Lent is a time of sacrifice and this means that we might be tempted towards the grumpy side. If we do Lent properly we will have less free time, less in our bellies, and less money in our pockets. These things are not usually a cause for celebration. In fact being busy, hungry, and poor are some of the largest stressors we can encounter.
But we are reminded by Our Lord to be cheerful even in these times.
Let us be clear: this is not a “fake it till you make it” philosophy. We have to be honest about how we feel in our current spiritual life. But we must remember that our disposition depends greatly (though not totally) on our will. While my emotions may shift, I can choose to focus on the good instead of the evil in my life. This will not always magically change my mood to the positive, but habitually drawing my mind to what is good and holy will have a strong influence on my feelings.
And this is what Christ is talking about when wants us to re-orient our souls so that we can even rejoice in sacrifice.
The Scriptures say “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) That is because there are fewer ways to witness that are more powerful than being a happy Christian. CS Lewis points out that joy on this world is a window into the next:
You can read the entire article here.