Here we are, barely to the half-way point of Lent. Hopefully, you had an opportunity to show off those forehead ashes for starters and then held the meaning of those ashes with you. Perhaps you’d have a chance to attend Church Soup Supper, Fish Fry Friday, or Stations of the Cross. You might be the type to post fasting and abstinence rules on the fridge, so there’s no lapse for you or your family members. Are you trying to get to Mass more often during the week for Lent? How long since your last confession? Did you circle that Penance Service date on the calendar, so you can be there and get your soul scrubbed clean!
That’s what Lent meant for years and years. Regular family routines disrupted, and meals tasteless, sparse. Every year, about midway through the whole period, I would just give up. I lost the energy to keep all the requirements. Less a preparation for the celebration of Triduum, and a lot more like a competition over Church rules. And depressing, too! I would resign myself to more years in Purgatory, and resign myself to wait out the weeks till it was over.
Now, I see Lent as completely different, with much less anxiety about doing Lent right. Now, Lent is an opportunity to spend time with God alone sometime each day, taking account of all He has done this past year. I bring a sincere heart for every little thing that’s happened to me or my family, friends, even enemies. I tell Him how grateful I am, even for the bad moments. I recount each specific grace I can remember, knowing each one prepares me for that final eternal encounter with Him. Then, I rest, knowing more Divine Mercy‘s coming next liturgical yearly go-round.
I recognize my inconstant heart; yet somehow, remembering Christ’s Passion, endured specifically for me, allows me to watch patiently and quietly for the sunny day of Easter. And I still do my best to keep the rules.