Are you ready for Lent? It's a silly question. It's like asking if you're ready for a root canal. Asking if we're ready is really asking, "you know this is about to happen––would you still want it to if you had a choice?" (you don't) So to ask the real question, we can ask ourselves, would we want the season of Lent if we had a choice?
I'd say my answer is a dragged out "yesss." I know that yes is the right answer, but I hesitate because Lent is a season of purification. We know it's ultimately good for us, but we know there will be some extraction (just like the root canal). It's going out in the desert with Jesus and sacrificing. On top of that, I'm not in love with the cross as much as I'd like to be and that's what Lent is asking of us: to learn to love the cross. How I wish I could be more like St. Padre Pio who said, "Yes, I love the cross and only the cross. I love it because I see it always on the shoulders of Jesus. Now Jesus sees clearly that all my life and all my heart is vowed to him and to his sufferings."
With that said, one of my resolutions this Lent is to pray the stations of the cross spread out over the 40 days. It averages to praying each station for three consecutive days and then praying all stations most of the days of Holy Week. If you'd like to join me, respond to this email!
As for fasting, I was inspired by my pastor's homily this past Sunday in which he said, "what's the point of giving up something if you're going to pick it up again after Easter?" It made me realize my weakness is in the extremes. I'm either fasting intensely or feasting intensely. It doesn't help that I have a sweet tooth too! I struggle to walk in the middle, in moderation. Perhaps I'm sharing too much, but maybe you can relate.
So for my fasting resolution this Lent, I'm not giving up dessert for 40 days like I used to do. (Because let's face it, I had no problem fasting the 40 days, but I probably gained 5 pounds in the first few weeks of Easter.) This year, I'm giving myself the option to have dessert every day (except Fridays and Ash Wednesday)––and it's only one dessert after dinner. If you can be extreme like me, you know what I mean when I say that having just one is hard. I should also mention that I'm not going crazy with hot fudge sundaes; I'm talking about a cookie or a chocolate.
I'm praying this will help me grow in virtue, prudence and temperance. My desire is that on Easter Sunday, when I can have whatever I want and how much I want, that I won't. That I will still have just one dessert. I also pray that during Lent, I will decide to skip dessert here and there because I want to. I pray these new virtues will continue to grow in me in the Easter season and beyond (and that I won't gain five pounds because of having jelly beans and chocolate bunnies for "breakfast dessert.")
Lastly, I have an almsgiving resolution, but I won't be sharing it here for "I don't want my right hand to know what my left hand is doing." But I can suggest that if you don't have your resolutions yet, consider having three––one oriented around prayer, another around fasting and the third almsgiving. Keep them simple.
So Lent is going to begin tomorrow whether we like it or not! We have the glorious Resurrection to look forward to. Remember that what Jesus wants most is YOU. Our resolutions should be to free us from anything keeping us from being all of His. I pray you have a blessed Lent.