Lent is dragging on, and, as frequently seems to be the case, it seems that what I gave up or tried to do wasn’t what God had planned for me. Lent has a way of dealing us a few extra spiritual lessons, and they aren’t always fun. I’ve noted lately, in reading other blogs, that I’m not the only one who got the bonus lessons this year: Kimberlie wrote a powerful (but dark) post I really appreciated, Kassie is stressed (but getting better) (please pray for her; she’s coming into the Church at Easter!), Mary is sick, and Calah has been cleaning up after puking and feverish kids. I already griped about my alternative penance that I got assigned. (Patience, apparently, is something I need work on… again.)
And then, I read this, from an article in the Coming Home Network’s newsletter (March 2011) by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D., on the sacrament of penance (bold emphasis mine):
We must work, with the assistance of divine grace, to let go of whatever binds us, straighten out whatever is crooked within us, repair what is broken, restore what we have unlawfully taken, embrace whatever truths we have denied, and learn to love God above all things. That process is what we call penance.
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the best-known of the traditional penitential acts. But the Catholic tradition shows us many more as well that can assist us, such as accepting unavoidable adversity in this life with a serene confidence in God’s providence. During this Lenten season, then, we have a fresh opportunity to cooperate with God in healing the consequences of our sin– and to help others understand why we need it.
*sigh* True, oh so true, but I don’t want to be calm about the adversity, darn it!