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A Hard Lent

March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation for Orthodox, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics. The story of the Feast of the Annunciation is found in Luke 1:26-39.

Mary said, “Be it unto me according to thy will,” and then, in the famous words of the Magnificat, she said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord…”
It is often difficult to say either or both of these things, and that is part of what Lent is supposed to do for us. Ed Pacht explores this reality in the following poem.

It Has Been …

A hard Lent,
a thoughtful Lent,
a less than pious Lent,
with less time in church,
less formal prayer,
less meditative reading
than in other Lents,
but with a sharpened knowledge
of the weakness of the spirit,
and the frailness of the body,
and the shortness of the time
that one is given on the earth –
it is a Lent of sickness,
of myself and others around me;
a Lent where death is near
and several die around me,
where sickness in a church
brings changes that seem wrong
but have descended willy-nilly on it;
a Lent of laws that work injustice,
of discouragement and near despair,
of depression, but of hope:
for behind the negativity of life
there is the hand of God,
there is the gateway of the cross,
there is a pathway from the trials of this life
that surely leads unto the throne of God;
there is a will to good I cannot see,
to glories never to be seen with eyes,
to a presence seldom fully realized,
but never absent from a Christian’s life;
and in the hardness of this Lent,
in the midst of burdens I can’t really bear,
at the heart of all my unhappiness,
I give thanks:
for God is good,
His goodness never fails,
and even now I walk and dwell
in the arms of One who’ll never let me go.

-----ed pacht

Related reading: John Donne's Annunciation


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