‘How is my Lent going?’

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Now might be a good time to ask ourselves a very simple question: How is my Lent going? We are entering the third week of Lent which means we’ve had two full weeks, plus a few days, to settle into this season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Much like reviewing our New Year’s resolutions a month or so into the new year, now is a good time to ask if we have been faithful to the commitments we made on Ash Wednesday.

If we committed to spending more time in prayer or spiritual reading, have we actually followed through? Or have we found ourselves still wasting time scrolling the infinite pages of social media and the internet? If we committed to setting aside desserts or some other food item, have we been cheating and sneaking a snack or two because we were hungry? If we made a promise to do more for others, has this actually happened? Have we given time to a friend or family member? Have we donated to some charitable effort for the poor, hungry, or homeless?

If we have followed through it probably hasn’t been always easy, but those things that are worthwhile usually require some kind of sacrifice and effort.  As I noted in my homily at the beginning of Lent, it’s not supposed to be easy, it is meant to challenge us, to help us learn to die to self and selfishness. Keep it up, don’t tire and remain faithful to our Lenten commitments. It may seem to get harder as we move through the next few weeks, but the pay off is an Easter that will really feel like Easter, a season to celebrate new life in Christ.

What if we have found it hard to follow through with our intentions at the start of Lent? Do we just give up and say, “Well, I already blew it so why keep trying?” I encourage us all not to listen to that voice. To quote the lyrics of an old song, let’s “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.” Or to quote C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

God is never outdone in generosity so let’s try again to be faithful to those commitments we made — pray, fast, sacrifice, serve, give back. If our failures involve sin, then let’s run to the one who is mercy and seek forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Reject the notion that our failures are beyond the Lord’s grace. His great desire is for us to return and know what it is to be filled with a love that is limitless.

So again, how is my Lent going? Let’s all take some time to answer honestly the questions and take the appropriate steps to remain faithful or to return to faithfulness. We have a few weeks to go until Easter so there is time to still have a blessed and fruitful Lent.

In Christ Jesus,

Msgr. John J. McDermott

Diocesan Administrator