The first week of Lent for some people can be a period of denial. “I only have to fast once a week. I can wait for the Penitential Service to go to Confession. I just have to give a little more at the collection plate, right?”
Sorry, buddy, but during this time of Lent, we are at the deep end of the swimming pool of life and it’s sink or swim.
Now I know there’s that quote that goes: “If grace is an ocean, then we’re all sinking.” This is true. But guess who knows how to walk on water and becomes our lifeguard and swimming coach? That’s right, Jesus.
In the words of Patheos blogger Billy Kangas, “Lent is about God helping us.”
Lent is a time that God challenges us to push ourselves. Sometimes, that comes with suffering. But in the words of Harry Potter:
And if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, here’s some encouragement from St. Philip Neri:
Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast.
— St. Philip Neri
My challenge for you today is for you to break a bad habit. Go beyond giving up smoking or drinking. Think of the worst habit you have, whether it’s wasting time on the internet or snacking between meals. (Incidentally that’s the tip of the iceberg of my personal vice.) Pray to God for the strength to overcome these bad habits.