The mention of Mardi Gras in a way heralds the start of Lent, a somber period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, enveloped in purple. Joel’s call (2:12) to return to the Lord, tempts us to view Lent as a rather dark time, when we try to repent and practice self-denial.

Yet, Lent, if properly embraced, offers us a taste of God’s mercy and goodness. Jesus is inviting us to change our hearts, in order to be filled with divine life.

Recently, I listened to someone share a painful experience of being locked out, after doing the music ministry in the church for many, many years, due to ongoing politics. She suddenly lost the ability to sing, because she believed the lie that she was not good. It crippled her to the point that she stayed in the safety of her boat for years, until she once again heard Jesus’s call, “Come, follow me.”

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