So, I don’t know if you’ve realized it or not, but we’re almost done with Lent.
In some sense, it’s kind of nice that the end snuck up on me. It gets me just a little bit closer to eating Raising Cane’s again. (My husband and I gave up going to Raising Cane’s together for our joint penance. I will not disclose how many times I have dreamed about going there since Lent started. It’s a little too embarrassing for the internet.)
But as the Passion of Christ approaches, I’m reminded of one simple fact, over and over again: Lent isn’t supposed to be fun. In fact, it kind of sucks.
I start out each Lent, every single year, with amazingly high hopes. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but they’re never fully realized. I have this idea in my head that I’ll make a complete 180 during these 40 days – every sin I’m falling into will be totally not tempting by the end of Lent. I’ll be so much further in my spiritual life. I’ll have total self-control over myself because I gave up x and y and z. I’ll be so much happier, so much closer to God, so much of a better person.
And without fail: it doesn’t happen.
Why? Oh yeah, because we’re human. Because we’re frail.
Because Lent isn’t about us. Because Lent is about Him.
Sure, we offer small penances, trying our very best frail human tries to unite them to Christ’s suffering on the cross. We attempt to devote our hearts and minds to Him, fasting with Him for 40 days, trying to make the journey to Calvary together.
Every year, without fail, around this time, I’m reminded of how human I really am. I’m disappointed with my “performance” throughout Lent. I can’t keep track of how many times I’ve failed in my Lenten penances. I get discouraged. I try to justify each one, and then I get even more discouraged.
But then Someone nudges me, reminding me: “Hey, it’s not about you. It’s about Him.”
Praise God for that, don’t you agree? Because if Lent was about me, it’d just be a depressing reminder every year of my frailty, my concupiscence, my inability to change at the blink of an eye.
But no. It’s about Him. It’s about His ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. It’s about His unending Love for us, His glorious and limitless mercy, His desire to share in Eternal Life with every single one of us.
That lifts my spirits a little bit.
And helps me resolve to live these last two weeks in pursuit of Him, with the beauty of the cross drawing me towards Him, and the promise of the Resurrection giving me hope.
I pray it does for you, too.