Spring sports bring me to the realization that if there was a Lenten equivalent for trying out for a Varsity spring sport, I’d be in a bit of trouble. If I tried out for the Lenten Varsity, I just might barely make JV. More likely, I’d be hanging out with the dabblers at the middle school level (still a great thing! – don’t get me wrong middle school parents!). I look to my friends and see people who “do Lent” so much better than I do. They choose things to give up that are quite challenging – and they even succeed! They sacrifice, they change, they make it to daily Mass – every day. Wow – I so admire that. Even my daughter can put me to shame with her level of self-control with her choices of Lenten sacrifice. However, that is not the first time that I’ve learned something from my kids. And I am sure it will not be the last. Can I be them when I grow up?
So I’m sitting in the pew at our parish’s Lenten Mission on Monday night and listening to Allen Hunt – such a rock star. He inspires me whenever I hear him. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, he was a highly successful Methodist pastor of a very large flock who converted to Catholicism. He was on WSB radio. He continues to be a very accomplished author and speaker. He is probably one of the most humble people I have ever heard speak about his faith. He is as real as real gets.
Despite giving an hour-long talk to a full house, one of the first sentences that he spoke touched me the most – not the crescendo or the powerful thesis at the end. At the very beginning of his talk, he said that this Lent is an opportunity for you to step one step forward in your Lenten journey. This is a Lenten journey for you, just you. Not the person in the pew next to you. Not the woman or man in your Bible study who knows more than you. This is your Lenten journey. If you take just one step forward, Jesus steps towards you, with true joy. If you take two, you might just make a major change in your spiritual life. I loved hearing that it was my unique journey towards the Easter miracle. My journey looks different than your journey. But isn’t it incredibly beautiful that we are all walking together in our own unique ways? We can help one another – no doubt.
So don’t compare yourselves to others. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I have heard this so many times, but do I really take it to heart? No. I need work here. Just do what YOU need to do to move towards the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Lent and the joy of the Easter miracle.
I pray that all of you move on your own time to reach your Lord where you are, when you can. He is waiting for you! Do what you can do, and if you can do more, do more. Either way, all is good, and all is God.