As we celebrate the 5th Sunday of Lent this weekend, I’m imagining a couple things may have happened to you in these last weeks.
Some of us have entered vigorously into this season of penance. On Ash Wednesday, with the dirt on your forehead, you were resolved to really make this a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. By now you have begun to feel the spiritual effects of such efforts— a felt desire for God in your life, an eagerness to do good things for the Lord, perhaps a happiness or peace in the midst of day to day difficulties. If so. . . . thank God. This is a great grace you have received.
Others of us have not been so diligent in our observance of the discipline of Lent. Maybe like New Years resolutions, we just got started and then dropped the whole project. Or, perhaps we tried to sacrifice or do something extra in prayer, but saw our efforts slowly go down hill. Maybe you are just now considering this holy season and thinking, “What the heck, it’s more than half over- – – I’ll just wait for Easter and do it up right.
May I offer a suggestion? First off, perhaps the failure to follow through on our Lenten efforts is part of God’s plan for you. In the opening prayer for the 3rd Sunday of Lent (half-way) the Church prays, “Lord, when we are discouraged by our weakness, give us confidence in your love.” Maybe God wanted you to learn how weak you are! Maybe now you know how much you need God to help you do even the slightest sacrifice. Perhaps in our failures we are beginning to learn the mysterious lessons of humility.
Whatever this Lent has been for you so far really doesn’t matter—– it’s today that should concern us. Why not let this Monday be a new beginning? Let’s call it Ash Monday.
Ask God for the grace that would give you a plan for these next two weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. Such a plan might include:
- going to confession.
- attending Mass one other time during the week.
- sitting everyday for three minutes (or more, if God so moves you) to consider how you might better spend the fleeting days of your life.
- journey with the people of Holy Trinity by being a part of the Holy Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday).
- acts of kindness for those with whom you live and work.
- some special act of selflessness offered for peace in the Middle East.
So, come along now. Up we go!! We are companions on this journey.
Bless you, Fr. Tim