My Lenten additions of prayer and almsgiving and the abstaining we are doing as a family is not really that much in the grand scheme of things. Hard, yes, at times it is. Trying? For sure. Painful? Sometimes. But still very possible.
It seems easier (somehow) to have a mug brownie in the afternoon once my little ones are wrangled into bed rather than just sitting in silence for some time or praying the rosary in those precious moments of quiet. To pass on my daily Lenten reflections and bible readings. To just give up giving up for Lent. It is so much easier. To surf through the unending, not super important updates on Facebook rather than to pick up a spiritual reading book.
"How can we complain when He Himself was considered 'as one struck by God and afflicted." (Isa 53:4) St. Teresa of Lisieux
Yes, Lent does require grace, faith, and perseverance. The grand thing is, however, that these virtues can be asked for. We are invited to request help. To ask the Saints and the Blessed Mother to pray for our journey through this desert season. Our Lord never asked us to take off on our own for 40 days. Rather we join in with the entire Church in seeking to come closer to Him during this time. We abstain from things getting in the way of our focus on Christ. Through the rigorous examining of our soul, we can scratch up the layers of insincerity, pride, apathy, and so forth that have built up over the past year, and we are able to expose the true us that God created underneath.
Easy doesn't cut it. Just as we as parents have the difficult calling in disciplining our children and teaching them the straight paths, so we are called, especially in this Season, to discipline ourselves for the good of our souls. Even though letting our kid's slide in rule following, family chores, and the like is way easier on us as moms (or dads), we know deep down it's better for them in the long run if we keep on plugging along. It's for their best interests to learn to have that discipline in their lives, to understand rules being in place for a reason, and to learn to love and live in harmony with one another.
"Suffering is a great favor. Remember that everything soon comes to an end... and take courage. Think of how our gain is eternal. St. Teresa of Avila
It's the same for us. As we lean in and discipline ourselves, focussing on clearing off the build-up of nastiness, let us remember this hard, dry, and sometimes painful time is truly for the good of our souls in the long run.
Peace be with you in these 40 days of Lent,
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