At Mass this morning, these words from the preface leapt out at me – words I do not usually associate with Lent:
Each year you give us this joyful season
when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery
with mind and heart renewed.
This is entirely correct of course. Lent is indeed a time of solemnity, a time for austerity and preparation,, but that is the key. Above all, it is a time of preparation for that great season of Easter, and its culmination in the resurrection, which is what the Christian religion is all about.
This perspective gives added meaning to the standard formula which opens the preface, as it does with only minor variations for every Mass:
Father, all-powerful and ever-loving God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.