It’s Lent. I know what I need to do and I’ve discovered time and again, each time I do it, blessings abound in my life and each time I don’t, I struggle. So why do I resist doing the good I ought? Because I hold tight to the attachments of this world, to food, to honor, to approval, to a thousand different needs for affirmation that aren’t helpful to my growing in holiness or healthiness or kindness or calmness. It’s weird to say I love Lent, but I do.
So let’s get this party started. Pray. Fast. Give alms.
Pray. Yeah. I need to push this, because the daily Rosary often takes it on the chin. I need the push of Lent to get back into a better spiritual habit. I need the daily reminders to stay at it.
Fast. Oh boy, do I need this … but what will it be? Diet Coke? Not sure I could function without caffeine. Sweets? Yes … it’s old school but it’s a problem for me. My brain immediately went to “how am I going to do this for 40 days?” and tried to suggest other offerings which might seem “bigger.” However I know there’s a desire to do something “heroic” in me which is the opposite of the purpose of Lent. It’s a distraction and a quick way for me to wind up not actually offering something as a gift, but seeking to do something as an accomplishment.
Give alms. I’ve been asking God what He wants me to surrender. I feel like this is the component of Lent that leaves me puzzling. I’m not sure what to give, how much, and what is symbolic versus what is a gift of self. I also know not giving alms is ignoring all, which does injury to those who hunger and thirst for justice — which leaves me with the ouchy question, “In what way am I unjust?” Sometimes giving alms is surrendering one’s “right” to something. As a mom of several teens, I sometimes stand a little hard on my authority as the mom. I hold onto my right to proclaim my “rightness,” and while I might be correct, I’m not always conveying that knowledge or wisdom or preference with charity. Surrendering my need to be “right,” my right to insist upon my “rightness” stings to even contemplate, but that’s a sure sign that’s where I need to go.
Ugh. Did I mention I love Lent? I do … because it never pulls punches with me. So what did I do for this week? I prepared for Lent. Day 2 … 38 to go. Hope your Lent is full of Small Successes!
What small successes are you celebrating this week?
Copyright 2018 Sherry Antonetti