Thursday, March 10, 2011

A failing Lent

I have always been bad at Lent. I never seem to remember to fast, think of anything good to do/give up and stick with it. That's why I especially liked this post on A Holy Experience about "Why a Failing Lent Actually Succeeds."

Lent is not about what I can do, which is a relief. It's about making room and appreciating what He can do.

The last few days/weeks I'd been trying to think of something brilliant to do during Lent and couldn't think of anything.
What would I like to do?, I thought.
"I'll set my alarm clock for seven each morning and think of a great plan to actually get up and go running!" I thought this because of the humiliation/frustration it is not being to get out of bed in the morning, and realizing I can't even do that on my own.
"I'll take showers in almost cold water!" I thought this because of the humiliation/frustration it is in spending so much in gas each month and my landlady thinking I am wasteful.
"I'll read an extra half-hour a day of my Bible!" I thought this because it seems like it is taking forever to get through the Wisdom books and I want to get to the Prophets so I can finish the Old Testament.

Finally, God pierced through my selfish, ambitious plans and made Himself heard to me this morning at mass.
"Lent is about making time for God, because even conversion of heart is a gift from him."
"Look at the deserts that have already come up in your life and consider, 'how can I embrace this more?'"
"Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God." (Jl 2:13 today's first mass reading)
and finally, "it's about what God wants, not what YOU want."

After weeks of not knowing what to give up for Lent, not one but THREE ideas came to me all of a sudden and in a very definite way. I knew it was what God wanted and what he'd been asking for a while and I'd been set against, one of which is weekly mass. And the rest, all the indecisions and answers I have been demanding from God? Wait, accept your desert, embrace it and come to me!

Kimberly Hahn's prayer from her book Rome Sweet Home came to mind:

Lord I will do whatever you want me to do,
go wherever you want me to go,
say whatever you want me to say
and give up whatever you want me to give up.

But... what, Lord, what?! Can you just be a little more clear about what I should do/where I should go/what I should say and give up?

Listen. Come. Wait.

Welcome to the desert.

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