We almost at the half-way point of Lent, and this is a good time to take a look at how we are doing with our Lenten disciplines. Some of the practices I have assigned myself are more difficult that others, and I sometimes fall short. But I need to remember that Lent is a time to grow closer to the Lord and to be aware of those areas in my life where I offend God and seek His mercy. God is not a taskmaster. My Lenten practices are not a check list of activities that I have to complete and if I don't then I have failed. If I find I slipped up, I need to just keep going not letting my slip deter me from continuing my Lenten journey.
It is almost like the weight loss program I am on. Sometimes I slip and have that piece of cake or an extra helping of pasta. The temptation is to say, "well, I had the cake, so I might as well have some ice cream too." Since I had the ice cream, my whole program is done with and I might as well forget it. NO! I had the cake, but I need to put that aside and continue on with my program. I should not let a moment of weakness mess up all my good efforts.
So too with Lent. If I skip morning prayer or find myself watching a bit of television, instead of telling myself that I have failed, I just need to pick up where I left off and make a more concerted effort to keep my disciplines. Lent is not some contest to see how much we can do or how much we can deny ourselves. If it doesn't lead to metanioa, a true conversion of heart, then it's just an exercise. If my Lenten practices do not lead me to true repentance then they are simply a list of things to do, sort of like New Year resolutions that are easily broken and forgotten.
As I look back on the different spiritual practices I engage in on a regular basis, many of them began as a Lenten disipline. Attending daily Mass as much as possible, praying in the car instead of listening to the radio, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, among other things, all began as Lenten practices. I am not saying that everything I do for Lent continues year round. I am really looking forward to watching TV again after Easter, but maybe I won't watch as much, or perhaps I will be more selective as to what I watch instead of just mindlessly watching whatever is on at the moment.
As I enter into the second half of Lent, I ask the Lord to reveal to me what I need to do to grow even closer to Him before Easter, to reveal to me my weaknesses, my sins and the areas where I am doing well and following His commands. I pray that He will continue to give me the grace to have a good Lent and lead me to share in His passion and resurrection.