Monday, February 25, 2013


                     "Never flinch, boys, never be afraid,
                                       "Heroes are not born, boys, heroes all are made..."

The second week of Lent is already upon us, so we are well into the penitential season now. I am going to be honest, and admit that I rather like Lent. Don't get me wrong, it can be tough, especially the first couple weeks, when you are settling into it; when you are hungry, and craving chocolate, and the six weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, seem a long and drear and bleak. It isn't the penance I like, nor even the extra prayers, but the season itself.

You see, I tend to view life as something of a long, running battle. Sometimes there is a good dash of glorious adventure thrown in. Sometimes there are dry periods of tedious monotany. Sometimes, the soldier is in good spirits, and meets misfortune with philosophy and song. Sometimes, he is weary and worn, and ready to throw the towel in, and go AWOL for home. But as inveritably happens on long campaigns, there is a time when the fighting comes to a stand still, and both sides hunker down in their trenches, with nothing but the occasional lobbing of mortars and the fitful exchange of fire to remind them that a war to  is still on. In the midst of this false semi-peace, the soldier becomes complacent, and his fighting skills grow slack.

Lent puts an end to all of that. Lent is a call to arms, and the order to attack - to throw off the lethargy that has had the soldier in its grip. It breaths life and glory back into the fight. It is hard going, battling across a dismal noman's land, and marching on short rations. The soldier must have all his courage and wits about him, for the enemy is both fierce and wily. For all that, there is exhileration in being well into to the fray again, in the slow gaining of ground, despite falls and setbacks. The sword and the musket make glad his hands, and there is joy at being once again so solidly in the army of the Great Captain, Who has gone to His own death for the sake of His men, and defeated it.

At least, that is how I see Lent - a time to make up for past sins, yes, but also a time to set my face firmly towards my King and Captain, and trust Him as a soldier trust a good CO. For though He might send me into bitter fighting, He will never suffer me to go it alone. So, hard as it is too keep to the extra penances and prayers I have set for myself, (I do not always keep to them so devoutly as I could wish) I say again, that I do like Lent, and I thank God for the season.


Amy said...

I totally LOVED this post, Marhi. It was awesome.
It does help me to look at life as a battle. And for some reason, thinking of Our Lord as the commanding officer is one of the most wonderful things ever.
I guess I agree. I'm not wild about all the lenty-ness of lent, but I do love how it jump-starts your spiritual life. :D
Hogan's Heroes quote. Best quote ever!

Jack said...

A very good post. I am Baptist so I don't do Lent, but I know what you mean by taking time, setting it aside, to examine one's life. It is something, I believe, all Christians should do often. A reminder to ourselves as to who we serve and Who we need to keep our eyes upon.

Mahri said...

Thanks Amy! Isn't it amazing that such a corny song should have such a *great* line in it? I always feel braver after listening to it.

Jack ~ I agree. Lent is convenient, because it forces one to stop and think about what God wants. But Christians should be doing that anyway, even if there is no prompt. And, quite frankly, if we do not take it upon ourselves, God, Who has our best interst at heart, will shakes us out of our complacency anyway, so that we remember that our true joy lies in following Him.

Molly said...

I've taken far too long in adding my cheers to those of the crowd here. Well said, indeed!