Our monks go robed in rain and snow, But the heart of flame therein, But you go clothed in feasts and flames, When all is ice within; Nor shall all iron dooms make dumb Men wondering ceaselessly, If it be not better to fast for joy Than feast for misery.
~ G.K. Chesterton, "The Ballad of the White Horse
Doesn't that last phrase just sum up the mentality of Lent? We are not fasting with sackcloth and ashes on the street corners, proclaiming our sufferings like the Pharisees. Instead we are fasting with a joy given to us by Christ, because we know that we would not have this time of penance and prayer if He had not died to save us. It is much better to be fasting with joy now - though it is hard sometimes - then to be ignorant of lent and feasting away with misery in our hearts.