I love Lent. That might sound a funny thing to say, as surely it is supposed to be a rather serious and almost miserable time of year, what with all the things you’re expected to give up. Well, serious it is, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. The Eucharistic Prayer describes Lent as ‘this joyful season’. True, it isn’t the unbridled happiness of Easter, but this serious, rigorous time of renewal is infused throughout with the deepest joy. This is because Lent doesn’t exist for its own sake, it is the beginning of our journey to Easter, a way of helping us truly celebrate with ‘minds and hearts renewed’. There are three traditional ‘pillars’ of Lent and they are Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. Prayer helps us become closer to God, Fasting (self-denial) helps us grow and flourish as individuals, and Almsgiving (acts of love) helps us grow in our relationship with our neighbour – which for us is every human being. This year, rather than simply ‘giving up’ something, try instead to make a resolution for each of these three areas – and do it with joy!