Friday, February 24, 2012

First Friday of Lent Reflection

I always seem to find myself struggling to “get into the Lenten routine.” No matter how much I plan ahead, or look ahead on the calendar, it always seems to sneak up on me. I find myself struggling to figure out something “to do” – whether it is an addition of a new positive practice or a giving up of something that might help me to focus more on God. A handful of times in my life I think the practice I adopted during Lent really affected my life. Often though, I have had trouble really identifying some practice that seems appropriate for Lent.

I get the same panicky feeling like when I am trying to order food at a place like Panera Bread and the line is piling up behind me, people sending menacing glances my way. So I just blurt out the first thing on the menu that catches my eye, only to sit down with something that looks totally unappealing to me. I pick a Lenten practice so that I have something to answer when people ask “what are you doing for Lent?” but whatever I select to do usually doesn’t feel like it is bringing me any closer to God.

The Psalm for today focuses on the cultivation of a “heart contrite and humbled” (Psalm 51). The humble heart is the offering to God, not the practice of fasting or self-denial itself. Instead of stressing about finding something to DO for Lent, I spent time focusing on this attitude of a humble heart before God. The practices I am adopting are things that I felt would help me on the real journey of Lent, the preparation of my own heart to journey with Christ in his suffering. Whatever we chose to do in regards to fasting, serving, praying, and giving, these things are an opportunity to prepare ourselves to more fully for this offering of self.

If you are like me sometimes and have not committed to any particular practice yet, ask, “Lord I want to offer my heart to you? Is there anything I can do in my daily life that would help me in that desire?”
reflected by Jen Horan

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