A Reflection for Thursday after Ash Wednesday
For me, Lent has always been a little intimidating. It’s time to face my shortcomings and resolve to give something up for forty days. It’s a time of prayer, fasting and looking within myself to see how I can better live out my life as a Catholic. It’s time to deny myself that kitchen sink cookie from the dining halls.
All jokes aside, Lent really is an intimidating time for many Catholics. We may even become reluctant to participate in Lent because of course, it isn’t comfortable to admit that we do in fact need improvement in our lives. Today’s readings talk about choosing the path of good or evil. It falls heavy on the hearts of those of us who are nervous. We ask ourselves, “What if we realize how much we need to improve and don’t like what we see?” However, Jesus turns that thought on its head and asks us today, “Will you like what you see if you lose yourself in the things of this world?” The gospel ends on an encouraging note: Jesus wants us to know that there is always hope. God is our Father, and like a good father, He appreciates even the smallest of sacrifices and gifts that His children offer Him.
I myself only began to see this time as an opportunity to be happy and proud of my Lenten choices when I realized that I did not have to commit to a grand gesture every Lent. I did not have to pray an entire rosary every morning at 7 am or give up using my phone for all unnecessary things to have a successful Lent. I wasn’t ready to do that. Our Father sees our struggles; He knows that even forcing yourself to go to bed half an hour earlier or reminding yourself to call home is a gift to Him. It is in these little actions that you are practicing charity and patience. Do little things with great love, and you’ll have a successful Lent. Don’t deny yourself that kitchen sink cookie. Enjoy it, and remember to thank God for it instead.