DOLCE: Lent is really hard, but Lent’s journey brightens Easter’s joy

March 27, 2018

I should not be surprised that every year I make a list of all the things I plan on doing for the Lenten season and every year it is really hard to hold myself accountable.

Much like New Year’s resolutions, I find myself two weeks into the journey reevaluating what I plan on giving up and sacrificing to grow in holiness. I have doubts like “Why did I give this up?” Or “What was I thinking when I thought this would be a good idea?”

I’m guessing if you are reading this, you might have the same feeling about your own Lenten journey.

Jesus allows us to unite our sufferings to His. He shares in our sufferings and his Passion is a reminder that we are not alone.


But that is what Lent is really about. Life is hard. Sacrifice is challenging, and Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. He gave us His life. It might seem flippant to say that our sufferings mean nothing compared to the sacrifice Jesus made for us, but that isn’t the case at all.

Jesus allows us to unite our sufferings to His. He shares in our sufferings and his Passion is a reminder that we are not alone.

When we gaze at our suffering and dying Lord on the Cross it is a powerful reminder that sacrifice is a necessary part of life and of faith. Jesus sacrificed for us by paying the ultimate price, so it should inspire us to take up our own crosses in our daily struggles.

The other thing that inspires us is the fact that Jesus on the cross says directly to our hearts, “I know exactly how painful your cross is for you.” Jesus shared in suffering and sacrifice so he can comfort us during our Lenten journey and throughout our lives.

Our Lenten sacrifices might weigh us down, but we can’t let it suffocate us. We also need to remember that we are sacrificing for a reason!

We want to grow in holiness, so we have been participating in some sort of sacrifice. Some of our sacrifices might be tough, but the Lord reminds us that he is with us.

As we wrap up this season of Lent, sometimes it is easy for us to set aside the sacrifices we made during Lent. Next week, Easter season will be upon us and we might think, “Whew. Lent is over, so I can finally do the things I gave up for over a month!”

However, it is important that we reflect on what we learned from our Lenten journey and incorporate those lessons in our lives. If we don’t try to incorporate our Lenten journey into our Easter joy, then we might waste all the sacrifices we made during the Lenten season.

Our sacrificing will be in vain if we don’t reflect on our struggles and realize all we learned during Lent. Jesus shows us that his suffering had real meaning because He gives us the promise of everlasting life!

May we be inspired by His example to let our Lenten sacrifices lead us to something greater! 

Father T.J. Dolce is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations.