Feb 16, 2018 filed under Courage.

Imperfect beginning to Lent

My Lent got off to a goofy start, as usual. I’ll be in the groove by the second Sunday. The first Sunday, I’m leaving nose prints on the Dunkin’ Donuts glass door before it opens.

Ash Wednesday is always “‘D’ with an ‘A’ for effort.” For example, this year, dinner was a deep-fried shrimp platter with cocktail sauce (no meat!) followed by sugar-free toffee for dessert (sugar free!). I’ve learned to expect a slow Lenten ascent into self-denial. But it’s okay—giving up trying would be the only real loss.

A half-dream last night got my attention as I fell asleep. A passing car’s headlight beam flitted over my closed eyes and I thought, “We have to place ourselves where we can catch the beam of light.” The dreamy conviction was so intense I knew I had to share it.

How does that relate to Lent? I think we need to intentionally place ourselves to avoid dodging the beam of light—the voice of God—that is always trying to find us. So often we hear the whisper of God, “Pssst. Hey, it’s Me.” “Not now, God,” we answer, “gotta run for groceries before dinner; I’m too tired; I have to write my to-do list for tomorrow; I’ll catch you later for sure. Anyway, I prayed the Rosary this morning—remember?”

Especially during Lent, how can we place ourselves to catch the beam of light we need for spiritual renewal? How can we get back to what’s important when our lives are as busy as ever?

Here are three classic ways to invite God in so we don’t miss the special grace of the season:

  1. Schedule your time with God. Write it on your calendar. Set your alarm. Whatever it takes. Mother Teresa wrote: “I make a holy hour after Mass so I have two hours with Jesus before the people and sisters start using me up. I let Him use me first.” Don’t have two hours a day? Schedule 15 minutes to meet Him in his Word, Holy Scripture.
  2. Make a good confession. It’s a great way to get cleaned out so you’re more susceptible to the beam of light, his love. Being forgiven does wonders for our ability to forgive.
  3. Give alms. Choose the way that suits you best: sharing time or money lightens us up because we shift the focus from ourselves. We become a beam of light to others.

Here’s hoping the first half-week of your Lent is off to a good start. I’d love to hear your favorite ways of connecting with God during this holy season. Scroll down and share a comment  :)

Love always,

5 Responses to “My Imperfect Perfect Lent (So Far)”

  1. Tom Roberts

    I have a device I use to stay spiritually connected: getting there early. I intentionally go to Mass early, maybe thirty minutes early and then contemplate what’s going to happen. If I’m going to meet a friend for breakfast or lunch I go early and use the time to anticipate the goodness of the event. Its a mechanical anti-reluctance device. There’s something about getting there early that can reset my attitude. “Maybe I’ll skip it this morning, sleep in at Saint Mattress” becomes “Wow, I’m here and I’m here early!”

  2. Debbie

    Lenten resolution – no eating between meals. Reality – I subconsciously changed meal times.

    Breakfast: 8 AM – Noon
    Lunch: Noon- 4 PM
    Dinner: 4PM – 8 PM
    Hopefully as Lent progresses I will catch the beam of light for spiritual renewal.
    Rose, thanks so much for your posts!

  3. Tom Roberts

    Its tough. Our best Lenten intentions get undermined by ourselves. At Sunday’s Mass our priest declared he’d given up Miller Lite. However, a couple he had joined in matrimony were in town on their 25th anniversary so they celebrated with Miller Lite. Its Wisconsin and it was a Friday . . . whaddaya ya gonna do? Like many in the congregation who have stumbled, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.

    The now deceased brother of another priest circumvented the “you can eat two smaller meals as long as they don’t exceed the one meal of the day” by having a giant main meal. Well, “Lent is about making ourselves better persons” said the Miller Lite priest. The opportunities abound.