This Joyful Season of Lent

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.

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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.

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