Skip to main content

Has it been a "successful" Lent?

It is hard to judge the success of spiritual endeavors. For one thing, the pay-off is eternal, and we are myopic people. Also, the standards to which we hold ourselves and the standards by which God judges us are radically different. For some of us, we are far too easy on ourselves ("Oh, God loves me no matter what...") and for others, the bar we set for ourselves is irrationally high ("I will never be good enough. I mess  up all the time. I'm a complete screw-up.")

How do we know if we've had a "successful" Lent then? Perhaps you completely blew your Lenten sacrifice...two days into Lent. You were determined to give up chocolate and then found yourself eating just one brownie, one piece of candy....Maybe you were determined to put aside time every day for extra prayer, and you sort of lost your way half-way through the 40 day journey, wandered off and never got back on track. Is your Lent a loss?

On the other hand, may be you kept up all your Lenten aspirations. You stayed away from beer, caffeine and quarreling. You made it to every single Stations of the Cross at your parish, and filled the out a terrific check for the charity of your choice. Is that a successful Lent?

I suspect Lent is more about walking with Christ in the desert than checking off boxes marked "Prayer, Sacrifice, Alms" (although those are mighty important means of walking with Christ). After these forty days, what have you learned about your Faith? What have you learned about Christ? Is your relationship with Him stronger, clearer? Has love for Christ been strengthened in you? Are you more like Christ today than you were a few weeks ago?

I have to say, I've been down on myself for not having a very "successful" Lent. My chosen sacrifice flew out the window. The sacrifices God chose for me were burdensome indeed. I spent quite a bit of Lent physically suffering. I found a form of meditation I hadn't used before to be very helpful, but I didn't plan it. I'm very sad about some family issues, and those won't go away after Lent is over.

Has it been a successful Lent? I pray so. I know I'll be trying to sing my "Alleluias" and "Gloria" with heartfelt love for He Who Has Risen. My Lent may not have been successful in the way I wanted it to be, so I must rely on Christ's Success. It's the only success that counts anyway.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…