Another thought on Lent:
Historically in the West, Sundays during Lent are not included in the 40 days. In other words, Sundays are always feast days in the midst of a season of preparation and penitence. But this really should not seem strange since all true repentance must flow from a heart of joy and thanksgiving. When we receive the Word of God with gratitude it will confront our sins and rebuke us in our folly, but the thankful heart will immediately look to God for grace, ask for forgiveness, and rejoice to begin again. In other words, repentance and sorrow for sin always flow out of joy and thankfulness in the Lord.
And the point is that this means that Lent is not merely a time to be “sad.” Rather, Lent is for joy. But it is a refusal to accept anything less than real joy. If God is faithful and hears our prayers to teach us, to confront us, to deal with our sins, there should certainly be moments and days of sorrow and pain. But because this is all the goodness of God, it is all sorrow that leads to repentance and that is a profoundly joyful thing. Which means that the wisdom of Lent (and other penitential periods) is teaching the people of God deep joy, real joy, deep grace, and that is cause for rejoicing and therefore Lord’s Days in Lent should be some of the most robust feast days we celebrate.