Bright sadness is the true message and gift of Lent.
Little by little we begin to understand, or rather to feel, that the sadness of Lent is indeed “bright,” that a mysterious transformation is about to take place in us. It is as if we were reaching a place to which the noises and the fuss of life, of the street, of all that which usually fills our days and even nights, have no access – a place where they have no power. All that which seemed so tremendously important to us as to fill our mind, that state of anxiety which has virtually become our second nature, disappear somewhere and we begin to feel free, light and happy. It is not the noisy and superficial happiness which comes and goes twenty times a day and is so fragile and fugitive; it is a deep happiness which comes not from a single and particular reason but from our soul having, in the words of Dostoyevsky, touched “another world.” And that which it has touched is made up of light and peace and joy, of an inexpressible trust.Alexander Schmemann
In this first week of the season of Lent, I am pondering these powerful words from the Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann. There is something about this season that offers me a “bright sadness” and I think that is why this quote resonates so deeply with me. These forty days have a way of turning me from the “noise and superficial happiness” of this passing world, and back to the great love shown by our Lord on the cross. And this makes the sadness bright, even before the unsurpassed brightness and joy of Easter.
May this Lenten season offer us all the “bright sadness” that leads to the light and the peace and the joy of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.