…We all share Bilbo’s dragon sickness. We confuse the goal and the means. We get things totally back to front. The dragon treats the treasure like it is the goal, the purpose. We know the gold and treasure is supposed to be the means. For the dragon the treasure is ultimately totally useless. We know this.
And yet, even though we know it, it traps us. We are like the Master of Laketown, like Gollum, even like Bilbo (when he gets the Arkenstone it possesses him).
The goal is God. Everything, everything else is the means. And we get it back to front ”“ making other things the goal of life, and then finding we are possessed, addicted by these. Even using God as the means to get our goal.
Lent is much deeper than simply “giving something up”. Lent is the unexpected journey ”“ with Gandalf as wise guide and each of us as Bilbo. The painful adventure and journey of Lent, where we leave behind our obsessions with the trivia of handkerchiefs, and doilies, and mother’s dishes.
Through the prayer and self-denial and generosity of Lent we may be surprised to find that we arrive at Easter changed.