While Easter is considered one of the joyous days of the year for the Catholic Church, the 44 days of Lent that lead up to it take on a different meaning depending on who you ask.
For some people, the period between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday is a difficult one as they make sacrifices in preparation of Jesus’ Resurrection. For others, it’s a time of reflection and rebirth as they eagerly await the arrival of Easter Sunday.
Author Antoinette Bosco has chosen to look at Lent in an entirely different light with her book Lent, An Uncommon Love Story.
“I look upon Lent as a time to focus on our own lives and to be surprised, perhaps, to see indeed that Lent, which contains the biography of Our Lord Jesus Christ, can be nothing less than a love story,” said Bosco in a column she wrote for Catholic News Service.
Initially, Bosco was reluctant to write the book. She had her own struggles in life to deal with as her son Sterling was undergoing a heart and kidney transplant, but decided to go forth with it.
Bosco begins her book with why we need Lent. She believes Lent is our cross to carry and links us to Jesus “to the point that we are willing to become ‘another Christ.'”
From there, Bosco goes back to when she was 8 years old and first became interested in Jesus’ final days. Starting with the Tenebrae service on the Wednesday before Easter, Bosco was captured by the beauty of the services she attended with her family.
“I was enthralled by the mystery I felt, inherent in the ceremony of progressively eliminating light, down to the last candle, until the church was in darkness ‚Ä¶ as was the world which put Christ — the light of the world — to death,” she writes.
Bosco would come to rely on her love of Lent later in life when she was saddled with the challenge of raising a family of six children as a single parent after her marriage had dissolved.
“I wanted release from the pain of worrying whether I was being a good parent ‚Ä¶ and from the pain of personal loneliness in my life,” she writes.
It was then that Bosco began to feel she was not alone in her struggles and that Jesus was with her to help her overcome her problems. That belief would become even more important later on as she dealt with the deaths of three sons, including Sterling, who died in 2004 just before Palm Sunday.
Throughout the book, as Bosco discusses how Lent is a prelude to Easter, the ultimate prize, she mixes in some prayers and quotes from members of the Catholic Church to enhance her love story.
“If we open our hearts, we learn how Lent — that dry time in the desert for forty days — has a happy ending,” she writes.
For Bosco, that happy ending comes every Easter after the Lenten season helps her renew her love of Jesus.
William S. Paxton, a freelance writer and editor from Canandaigua, grew up in Pittsford and attended St. Louis Church.