With Laetare Sunday come and gone, we are officially more than halfway through Lent. It’s about this time that priests break out the “Stay on track! Don’t give up! Easter is coming!” homilies. Not without reason, mind you. It’s easy to start out Lent with grand resolutions only to grow lax and reach this point feeling like a deflated balloon.
As I’ve written previously, though, spiritual growth isn’t limited to the seasons of Lent and Advent. It’s a year-round endeavor.
If you’re feeling stressed about your progress or lack thereof, take a deep breath. We’re pursuing a relationship with God (not a mere self-improvement program), and relationships take time to establish and mature. Remember the parable of the laborers hired at different times to work in the owner’s vineyard. The laborers hired late in the day are paid the same wage—the coin of eternal life—as those who began working for the Lord at dawn.
There are plenty of saints who started work relatively “late.” St. Augustine is the classic example at age 34. There are also Ss. John Henry Newman (44), Ignatius of Loyola (30), and Angela of Foligno (37). (Bear in mind that these saints lived in times with a far lower life expectancy than ours.) I personally know a man who didn’t convert until about the age of 70 after attending church with his family for decades on end.
With that in mind, take some time (~15 min) to make a thorough examination of conscience. What’s going well? What’s not? Why? What specific changes can you make to improve?
Focus on establishing good habits to maintain even after Lent is over. Maybe you could continue to abstain from meat on Fridays as Catholics traditionally did. If you’ve committed to attending daily Mass, praying a Rosary, or performing some charitable work during Lent, keep it up! Carry the fruits of this Lent forward in your life.
Amber writes from the bunker of her living room. There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life. Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.