February 18, 2021 | by Royce Hood
While my family rests comfortably I pray and write when the inspiration hits me. Between the music and the notes hopefully one day my kids will enjoy going through it all!
This is a journal entry from the wee hours of this morning:
Reflection on entering Lent and Fulton:
Arguably the hardest few months of my life. But equally the most wonderful, complete and fulfilling.
I’ve never appreciated Lent as much as I do today. Giving something up? Sure I can give up cookies for 40 days. Confessing my sins? Sure but it feels like I’ve always done so without truly digging and examining the depths of my heart. For years I’ve had a big misunderstanding of what it all meant. I didn’t look at Lent as a grace but more as a routine occurrence perhaps even a burden.
It’s interesting. Over the years I’ve gained more appreciation for Lent but this year is very different.
I cannot explain my sudden reverence and pure enjoyment with the Lenten season. It may sound crazy but I’m overjoyed to sacrifice, confess my sins, receive absolution and live more fully renewing my faith each and every day. And why?
This Lent my wife Elise and I will welcome the birth of our 6th child, Fulton. Our medical team has been helping prepare us for his birth and for his final moments. Absent a miracle our situation seems helpless but it’s certainly not without hope.
So in one way this Lent may be the hardest Lent of my life. But we’re not letting go of hoping for a miracle! Our God can separate the sea. Our Lord can raise the dead and heal the sick. So if it’s God’s will He can also completely heal Fulton.
But sometimes God’s grace and His miracles occur in ways we do not understand. Entering this Lent I’ve figured something out. By God’s love Fulton has healed us!
Our little guy is due to be born in just a few weeks. He is measuring about 6 weeks behind in growth. Our little dude has brought Elise and I, along with our five other children, closer to God than I ever thought possible.
In the past few weeks Elise and I have observed a number of beautiful instances that we associate with our faith and with God’s love. Where others might find coincidence we see God’s hand. For example trying to find a church with confession today: The one confession service I found just happened to be offered at the one time I was free and the Parish was located on Fulton street! Come on! Little signs like that are graces if we but open our hearts to see.
Elise and I have other stories of little graces surrounding this time with Fulton, perhaps in due time we will share. All this to say:
This Lent I have embraced the sacraments with a passion and enthusiasm I never thought possible. I am enthusiastic about receiving the spiritual supercharges that come from this time of mercy. This is after all the season when we will celebrate the Resurrection.
As we enjoy each moment and count down the days my family will need a great deal of grace to get us through the emotional rollercoaster that is to come. I couldn’t think of a more fitting time to carry this cross than the Lenten season.
And thanks to each of you who have taken the time to read my rambling. Sorry it was sort of a long post!