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 www.kathleenhockey.blogspot.com.
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.