Two centuries after Nieuw Amsterdam had become New York, a treat still somewhat unique to that city was born, the black and white cookie. It is coated half-and-half with dark and light frosting. Though when I was a kid I gave up eating them during Lent, those cookies are an apt symbol for the season.
We generally think of Lent as a time of gloom. After all, it starts with ashes and the admonition, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” and we are exhorted to recall and repent of our sins. We make sacrifices, fast and abstain. Lent properly draws to a close with Confession early in Holy Week as the culmination of our reflection.
But even with an emphasis upon repentance for sin and the dark parts of our lives, the liturgy talks of the time as an annual “graceful gift,” and describes us as “rejoicing in this annual celebration of our Lenten observance.” Black and white.