By Anni Harry
Music is a powerful product of the heart. One of my favorite activities is turning on some good music and cooking in my kitchen. I routinely wake up in the middle of the night singing some random song from earlier in the day and the strangest activities will spark a tune in my brain.
Music can be complex or rather simple. Because it is a product of the heart, it can be exceedingly powerful.
Several years ago, at an Ash Wednesday Mass, I was trying to keep a toddler engaged and quiet, and I started singing the tune to a popular children’s nursery rhyme. I stumbled over the last two lines, “…ashes, ashes, we all fall down!”
The cause of the stumbling was none other than the weight of the words I was singing, and how absolutely appropriate they are to the events which take place every single Lent.
There are three pillars of Lent — fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. We are encouraged to fast from something we enjoy, turning toward God when we want to indulge. We offer this relatively minimal suffering on our part, up for our Lord. Some Catholics make resolutions to kick off the new liturgical year (the first Sunday of Advent) in addition to those made at the new calendar year, then make declarations of what they are giving up for Lent.
As with most resolutions, things usually go well the first week. However, the second there is a small slip up, more slips start coming hard and fast.
Yet, as Christians, we are not defined by the sum of our mistakes. Nor are we defined by how often we fall down.
Rather, we find our true selves each time we rise again with the power, determination, and sheer grit of Rocky during a title bout. Ultimately, through the Cross, we find our identities in the strength and love of Christ.
When we inevitably give in to temptation, we need to see ourselves being made into the saints we are called to be, rather than the weak person destined to always fail. We must embrace our inherent capacity for sainthood by picking ourselves up, brushing ourselves off, and moving forward again.
This Lent will be a test for many. We will face temptations, trials, and difficulties as we approach the three pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We will want to rationalize our slips and seek convenient loopholes.
At the end of the day, focusing on the fact the discomfort is temporary. And it is nowhere near as difficult as the discomfort felt by one Man.
Let us be inspired to walk together this Lent. Remind each other that every one of us is called into a personal and loving relationship with our God.
To do so will require us to acknowledge our falling down. It will also require us to modify the tune and ending, and get back up.
Music is one of the best motivators. What will be your anthem song to carry you through this Lent?
About the author:
Anni Harry is a proud Army wife and mom. She currently works as the Catholic Religious Education Coordinator at her family’s military chapel. She can be found on social media at A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life on FB, @beautifulcamouflagedmess on IG, and @BeautifulCamoMe on Twitter. She also writes for her own blog, in addition to other Catholic women outlets.