It's hard to believe Lent is nearing an end. When we started this journey back in February, I felt like I had plenty of time to make some real spiritual progress. But here we are, just a couple of days away from Palm Sunday, and I have to admit that from where I'm standing things just didn't measure up to my Lenten expectations. Again.
Truth be told, I did just fine with the fasting portion of our program. Giving up sweets or between-meal snacking can be a sacrifice that really does make me stop and think on an almost hourly basis (I like to snack), but, overall, fasting is a piece of cake, so to speak, compared to the other two prongs of our Lenten challenge: prayer and charity.
My hopes for daily silent contemplation and a nightly family Rosary failed miserably, although I think the fact that my 8-year-old daughter asked why we weren't saying the Rosary the other night means that even our minimal efforts had an impact. Maybe that's what I need to take away from what otherwise seems like 40 days of spiritual business as usual.
Lenten plans are not the spiritual equivalent of New Year's resolutions. They are not about us but about God. They are not something we toss aside the first time we fall or fail. Lent offers us an opportunity to take a hard look at our relationship with God and figure out where it needs shoring up or complete renovation. But the end of Lent shouldn't mean we pack up our plans for another year. Every day is a chance to die to self, even if that day happens to be an ordinary day in Ordinary Time. Lent may be an especially good time to begin a new practice that will lead us closer to God, but the hope is that those practices will continue long after the season of sorrow ends.
What was your experience this Lent? Did you follow through on your plans or did life get in the way? Are you hoping to continue some of what you started in Lent throughout the rest of the year? In sharing your story, you may just inspire the rest of us.