Lent 2012 has been insane!
It really has been wild; such an amazingly blessed time of growth in virtue! We're nearly halfway through Lent, and usually at about this time, people grow depressed about their failure to meet up with their high expectations for Lent. Many people treat Lent like New Year's Resolutions: They have these high ideals, high expectations, and BOOM! They fail at their resolutions for Lent, grow discouraged, and lose all hope and joy.
Let me offer some encouragement from a 70 something year old priest:
(But first, a little backstory)
Ash Wednesday was very blessed, but very difficult. I was trying to keep a general, prayerful silence throughout the day, which I eventually discovered was not beneficial to my daily life at college, since so much of God's work happens to and through me by way of speaking with others. Oh, and I was ridiculous, and decided that I could totally live, go to 4 classes, nursing home ministry, AND household Rosary only eating one roll the whole day. Which is not very energizing.
So basically, by the time I reached my bed, I was
1. Grateful that Ash Wednesday was over,
2. A bit dejected in my failure to reach those goals that I set for myself, and
3. Greatly humbled.
Over the next couple days, I was struggling in my Lenten resolutions. And I was failing a bit, too. By the time that next Wednesday rolled around, I was so ready for Confession. Well, the priest that I was sent over to was in his 70s, and I'm pretty sure that he was one of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Dang, this priest was epic.
Two best things he said? (Besides the absolution, of course)
1. "The path to holiness is 1% inspiration from God, and 99% perspiration from you."
2. "Girl, you need to SUCK IT UP!"
Not going to lie, comment #2 pretty much made my day. Having a 70 something year old priest look me in the eye and say that--wow! What he said was so true; the path to holiness is rough (as I was experiencing). Should we sit around in wallow in our sufferings and misery?
We need to suck it up.
I have carried this advice with me for these past two weeks, and it has helped immensely. Honestly, this Lent has been challenging me spiritually. A lot. Which is crazy, and cool; seriously, this Lent I've been focusing on building up my prayer life more, and focusing less on mortification. I've been focusing less on my spiritual struggled, and more on reaching for God in daily life, to overcome my struggles. And while it has been a difficult few weeks of Lent, it has been so good. And God has brought so many blessings through everything! Goodness, I currently am in Georgia with some good friends (celebrating the birthday of one of them was fantastic!!), soaking up the sunshine, beach, Mass, and going to the childhood home of Flannery O'Connor, one of my favorite authors! As this spring break comes to a close, I honestly relish how God has given me some beautiful relaxation and rejuvenation before the final lap of Lent and classes. As I prepare to journey at 6 a.m. tomorrow, back to campus--where WHO KNOWS what God has in store for me--I hold onto the words of dear St. Patrick:
" If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples"