Taking stock of Lent - Catholic Courier

Taking stock of Lent

During childhood, I would routinely give up candy for Lent only to make myself sick with chocolate on Easter Sunday, not to mention the days that followed. Pretty much any facet of my Lenten sacrifice sailed right out the window, earmarked for storage until the following Lent.

It’s easy to smile now about this youthful attitude toward the season. And yet, my memories also raise a challenging question: Now that I’m all grown up and supposedly wiser, have I gotten any better at living out the true purpose of Lent?

Our Catholic faith teaches that the Lenten focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving is all tied in to spiritual conversion. If I’ve indeed experienced conversion, that means I’ve gone to a new place, not to return to my old ways simply because Easter has passed. I may start up again with chocolates, television, junk food and the like, but my spiritual progression isn’t supposed to be put on hold or, even worse, recede between now and next Ash Wednesday (which, in case you were wondering, is Feb. 10, 2016).

Then again, just how does one go about measuring spiritual progress? The only answer that seems to make any sense to me is, by spending some quality time in prayer and reflection. However, given the celebratory nature of the Easter season that’s punctuated by joyous church services, family get-togethers and spring fever, I generally don’t do a good job of taking stock of the previous 40 days.

So this time around, before plunging headlong into spring and summer, I vow to try harder weighing what I’ve done this past Lent — and what Lent has done to me.


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