Lent is nearly here, and if you haven’t been thinking about what you can do or give up for the penitential season, I’m here to help! Today I’d like to talk to you about how to fail at Lent in three easy steps. I’ve had plenty of experience in this arena, so I think I’m a good source of information on this topic.
Be sure to ask everyone around you, especially the most spiritually-advanced people you know, what they’re going to do for Lent. Compare what you’ve done in the past (give up sweets!) with what they’ve done (54 Day Novena and fasting every Wednesday and Friday on bread and water!). Look at your own penances and toss them all out the window, opting to go for the gold! Don’t just give up that habit of hitting the snooze button (which you usually do 3-4 times)! Decide that for Lent this year, you’re gong to get up an hour earlier than usual and work out before everyone else gets up. Make sure that you choose to do the hardest thing possible to really prompt yourself to change. Don’t be a sissy!
Plan out super-big goals for Lent this year. Look at what kind of saint you want to be and just *do it* for Lent! Don’t worry that you’ve had a hard time with getting in Morning and Evening Prayers up until now. Dedicate yourself to saying all of the Hours, plus a Rosary! Spiritual growth is good for us!
Remember, comparing your Lenten penances to everyone else’s will help you really pick out the very best kinds of things to do! Your ideas haven’t made you into a saint yet, so obviously you need to get inspiration from new sources.
Don’t get advice from a spiritual advisor or your confessor, though. They’re probably going to be too easy on you.
When you get to the Third Sunday of Lent and realize you aren’t hitting all of your new daily goals, don’t re-evaluate your plan. Just chastise yourself and double down on the goals you’ve set. How else will you become a saint if you don’t keep all of these new holy habits? Never mind that you’ve been unable to do it all so far. Just try harder!
Be sure that when you turn to the saints for inspiration, you don’t read biographies that talk about the struggles they all had with backsliding and failing at holiness. Stick with biographies that gloss over the crosses and struggles the saints had!
If you’re still struggling to meet all of your Lenten goals, don’t resort to prayer and circumspection about whether or not your chosen penances are ones that are truly designed to help you grow spiritually. Just stick to the ones you’ve got, even with a touch of stubbornness.
And remember, these are your struggles, not your confessor’s or spiritual advisor’s. Don’t worry about sharing those struggles with them.
If you get all the way to Holy Week and are still struggling, give up all hope of being able to do anything. It’s definitely too late to start again, and whatever you do this week will probably end up being lame, anyway. It’s not like you can just show up at the last minute for Lent and it’ll be okay, right? Who even believes that kind of thing?
Just sulk your way through Holy Week about how awful Lent was this year. And remember, don’t ask your spiritual advisor or confessor what to do, or you might get some comfort about being … you know, human. Because no one else ever fails at Lent.
Copyright 2018 Christine Johnson