Persevering the Path
Mar. 22, 2021
Lent. Six weeks, forty days, nine hundred and sixty hours, fifty-seven thousand six hundred minutes…. You get the picture.
Some years are so fruitful, others feel as though the forty days will never end, and sometimes it seems as though the time has flown by. I used to think that the years that felt unbearably long were the years that I had picked the right thing to give up, or to add. For the years that would go by quickly, I would think that whatever I was doing wasn’t enough, that I had picked the wrong thing to do. Inevitably, I would get to a certain point, where I would stop and think to myself is this working,
maybe I should add something.
To this day, I have to fight the urge to pile too much on during Lent. I would get halfway through, and I would inevitably decide that the solution to whatever I was struggling with, not reading that book, not going to the chapel, whatever it was the solution I always came upon was to add something more. You can probably relate to the thought of needing to change whatever you’re doing, maybe you’ve made it this far and it’s been a struggle, maybe it’s been easy, maybe nothing has been working at all and you’ve simply not been able to do anything you had decided to do.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is OK if you keep struggling,
fighting, persevering through this adversity. Don’t listen to all the voices that tell you otherwise, one successful week of lent is still a successful lent.
In the Gospel, Jesus goes out into the desert for forty days where He fasts and is tempted by Satan. If during this Lent you are tempted, don’t let it dissuade you from whatever you are working on, trying to build up in your life. Maybe, what God wants you to do is to offer up the struggle you have been experiencing, using that suffering to get closer to Him. The season of Lent is a time for us to prepare for the resurrection of our Lord, for us to draw closer to Him who gave His life for us on the cross.
Satan wants nothing more than to stop you from getting closer to Christ.
I have experienced that personally this Lent. I had decided that what I was going to do was add ninety minutes of prayer in front of the eucharist every day. I knew that it was something that I really wanted and needed in my life, so I started the week or so before Ash Wednesday so I was sure I would build up the habit. Well, on the Tuesday before, I got sick and had to quarantine until I was better. I had to stay inside my room until the second week of Lent.
This year is the first year that I haven’t kicked off my Lent with attending Ash Wednesday and while not a day of obligation, I have always found that mass especially beautiful, and an excellent way of committing whatever I am striving for in Lent to the Lord. Once out of quarantine, I was excited to finally start going to the chapel again. God had other plans for my Lent however, as I started to have car problems. It took a while to get it into the shop, so that now, in the fourth week of Lent, I finally have a car that can take me to the chapel.
It was very easy to be discouraged, I spent a day or two of feeling pretty confused, going to adoration is always a good thing, so why was I experiencing so many roadblocks in simply trying to go? I decided that rather than let myself get too discouraged, what I needed to do was try something new, something that I could do without a car. I started reading a do it yourself retreat book, that takes thirty-three days, which I was thinking about doing this lent. In the short week that I have been reading the book I have experienced so much clarity in day-to-day life, as well as new energy in my daily prayer each morning.
This year do not let your fears, anxiety, anger, whatever it might be, stop you from diving headfirst into this second half of lent. Maybe you need to restart whatever you’ve been doing, maybe you need to change it up, maybe you do need to add something. No matter what happens, what you decide upon, do not give up. If something isn’t working maybe you do need a change, maybe you just need a friend to help walk with you.
We’re nearing the end of this forty-day race, don’t let yourself run out of steam just because the finish line is in sight.
Because our ultimate finish line is heaven,
that is why we choose to draw closer to Jesus in this season.
I am reminded of 2 Timothy 4:7, I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. Lent will be fruitful so long as you keep walking that path towards him.