Wednesday, February 17, 2010

it's not a competition...

... Lent is not a competition in piety.

It is important to note that one must try to avoid the temptation of attempting a Lenten Triathlon. Promising to deny yourself in extremes or adding the spiritual routine of the most prayerful monk is only setting yourself up for two things; failure and pride.

I used to fall into this trap... Oh, it's Lent. Look at me all pious and junk. I am giving up alcohol, meat and desserts. In fact my only sustenance shall be saw dust choked down with my spit. Oooo. And I am going to read the entire New Testament, pray the Divine Office, go to mass daily, adoration every Wednesday, the Stations of the Cross every Friday and pray the rosary every morning at dawn.

Two days into Lent I was ready to give up which was immediately followed by discouragement at my lack of follow through. By mid Lent I had given up entirely.

Failure and pride.

"Don't give in to discouragement. If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers.", Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

9 comments:

Adrienne said...

Well dang! There goes all my plans down the tube!

Old Bob said...

I think it was third grade, Lent 1953, when Sister asked us kids what we were going to give up for Lent. I said movies, and she said, "You never go to movies anyway; give up something else." I wondered for a long time how she knew.

Maria said...

This is a FABULOUS post. I can't remember the exact quotation, but Hardon SJ was talking about humiliation. He said he would count throughout the day how many humiliations he encountered. Before noon, he was up to 19, and so stopped counting. You are So right. We cannot even do Lent without Him. Hardon SJ likes to remind us that Christ said: " You can do nothing without me". Hardon also says, Christ did not mean this figuratively. We are to take Him at His word and beg, in prayer, for His help. Myself? I have been discouraged by mean spiritedness in the not-all-so-Catholic blogosphere, and my own is right up there w/ everybody else's. It is time for penance.

Just another mad Catholic said...

I second Kat

Smiley said...

shall remember mother theresas line

The Retail Girl said...

thank you so much! at the risk of submitting you to a little pride, that was one of the best little lenten hoorahs I've read in a while, much needed!
thank you

saintos said...

That's just so Ash Yesterday

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3puddytats said...

I enjuoy hearing about other's Lenten plans... growing up Protestant we had some rather austere sacrifices for Lent--then the perpetual guilt trip if you slipped up..I am so past that..

One comment this past year--I don't recall exactly where I heard it from--Was to the tone of "Celebrate Lent like and ADULT." Giving up chocolate and movies, etc--that is what children--and perhpas baby Christians--DO. As adults we should really use this season to stretch ourselves spiritually..

For example I am following St Therese's example of her Little Way--Do small things with great love... what a challenge that is!! And me being a cronic grumbler will try each day to do one addition chore or duty or request with great love...

The main challege will be scooping the kitty box that my three cats use...but they are grateful when I clean it so I should be grateful when I clean it, instead of putting it off and making everyone grouchy...

Anyone needing fresh kitty poops for their sand-containing Holy Water fonts just let me know..I have a never-ending supply..

Sara