Yesterday was Palm Sunday and I found myself sitting in mass thinking, “how did that happen?” Followed by,” I’m not ready for Holy Week. I was barely ready for Lent.” As far as I’m concerned, we should still be in Advent. This liturgical year is zipping by and I feel like I’m barely holding on to my pants. Every year I set super ambitious goals for both Advent and Lent and once things get going, I feel like I haven’t done much of anything. I’ll be honest, Lent was a struggle. I did Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory and if you are unfamiliar, you can go here.
I was feeling very discouraged by my own downfalls, but then I realized we all struggle with Lent. It’s okay to think, “Wow, I’m really terrible at Lent.” The truth is, we are all kind of bad at Lent and, that’s the point. If we were perfect and amazing at Lent, then we would not need it, and we would not be in need of Jesus either. Lent reveals to us our fears, our failures, our weaknesses, and our struggles. The purpose of Lent is to strengthen us and reveal to us the area of our lives that need fixing. It is a painful process and is difficult to get through because, during this time of relenting (surrender, abstinence, fasting, and prayer), we become vulnerable. By the end, we might feel defeated as if we disappointed God, but we needn’t feel that way. God knows we are not perfect, and so he sends us the Holy Spirit to comfort us and lead us closer in communion with Him.
Lent is a time in the desert. Even Jesus was tempted in the desert. Dwell on that for a moment.
So, if Jesus required much prayer to endure his desert time, don’t you think we need it too? What makes us think we can endure this life alone and without prayer? Friends, do not take this spiritual journey lightly. When we recite the Creed during mass, we acknowledge the existence of things” visible and invisible.” There is an entire spiritual world out there that we can not see. Therefore, it is necessary to, as Jesus said to disciples the night of his arrest, “to take watch and pray.”
Our goal is Heaven. Every day is another chance at Sainthood, but great Saints are not born, they are made. Great Saints did not become Saints by sitting on their hands. Every great Saint became a Saint by enduring sorrow, struggle, and weakness. Pope Benedict XVI said, “the world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” Carry your cross knowing that life will not be easy, especially when you strive for holiness (the Devil does not like us working for God), but know that you are not alone for Jesus carried that cross before you.
Rely on Jesus and He will sustain you.