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Lenten imperfections

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Fallen off your Lenten path already? Pray for some help.

Guest blog post by Kathleen P. Hockey

Four days into Lent and I had blown it already.  I couldn’t help it.  The brownies I had baked before Ash Wednesday were on the kitchen counter top begging to be eaten and I obliged. As you have probably guessed, I gave up chocolate and all manner of sweets for Lent.

The saddest part about this event is that after I ate the first brownie, I told myself it didn’t really matter anymore. So, I ate a second brownie. Soon writing I had tummy ache. 

The question becomes, “Am I going to do this or not?” The answer of course is, yes. I’ll try again. Sacrifice is important. It reminds me of the season.

There is a more important thing I am trying to give up for Lent, and that is my habit of worrying. I worry about everything from getting to work on time to not having enough money to pay the bills. Worrying is not very conducive to a reflective life and is certainly not a demonstration of faith. Our Lord Himself chided Martha for worrying rather than sitting at his feet like her sister, Mary.

I also have not been very good at praying regularly. I used to pray every morning before dawn. Now I simply don’t pray. How I let such an ingrained part of me erode was beyond me until I realized just now that it had a lot to do with why I ate that second brownie. I told myself, “What’s the use?” So, hand in hand with trying to quit worrying is trying to develop a routine of prayer… again.

Lent is my favorite time of year. I am always moved by the daily scripture readings. Perhaps it strikes a cord inside wherein lies my deepest knowledge of myself. Far from being the image I often present of a faithful and fervent Catholic, I tend to be more like a lukewarm wimpy one. The image is never the reality.

I have subdued hopes for this Lent. I think that is good. Too high expectations for a good performance, a “successful” Lent defeats its purpose. Lent is not something to be successful at. It is a time to be open to God’s transformative grace. My first prayer was a petition for that grace. As made obvious through brownies, I can’t do this on my own.

Guest blogger Kathleen P. Hockey is a social worker, author, and speaker from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She blogs at

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Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.