Lent, Prayer

Reevaluating Lent


There was a great tweet the other day from Andy Crouch (@ahc): “Honestly hadn’t planned on giving up quite this much for Lent.”

Screenshot 2020-03-21 17.18.04

I have to agree. When the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston responsibly suspended the public celebration of all weekday and Sunday Masses, my heart ached. Of course, I understood, but truly, my heart ached.

I had plans for Lent that were good for me and (more importantly) good for my relationship with God. Daily Mass was one of them…. as was eliminating overindulgence (of food, drink, and FaceBook), as was a practice of morning silent prayer, as was an evening Examen, as was the simple practice of making my bed every morning.

Presently, I am (mostly) managing an evening Examen and making my bed at some point every day. And I have to be ok with this. 

Given the circumstances of Covid 19, with social distancing, with my kids doing Montessori schoolwork at home without materials, with my husband sharing our home office all day long with daily 9am telecons, and with all the adjustments that go along with living in the time of a pandemic, I have to be ok with this.

It’s more important that I be patient, calm, encouraging, understanding, kind, loving, generous, and compassionate than it is for me to follow through on promises made in a different time, in a different world. And sometimes an extra homemade chocolate chip cookie with an extra glass of wine helps me do this. And right now, I have to be ok with this. 

For me, reevaluating Lent is practicing mercy with myself, which in turn, helps me practice mercy with others. I’m doing what I need to do, to love the people who are always in my house right now. I’m doing what I need to do to love, support, and protect the medically vulnerable, the caregivers, the medical professionals, and all those who we rely upon to staff the grocery (and liquor) stores.

Amid the craziness, negativity, panic, and hoarding, I want God’s peace to dwell within me, so I’m reevaluating my Lenten practices, and I invite you to do so as well.

Here’s one way to guide yourself in making those adjustments:

  • What grace do you want to ask for, from God, right now?
  • Is there some positive thing you can (realistically) do to help yourself be more aware of – and receptive to – God’s grace (which is already at work in your life)?
  • Within your reflection, consider practices that will help you love God more fully, especially with yourself and others in this time of social distancing, be it through more self-care, more patience, and/or more generosity.
  • Pray about making this a daily lenten practice. In your prayer, ask God if you are being called to make this shift.

In my next post, I’ll explain my lenten commitment to practice both Being Real and Having Hope.

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Julie Dienno-Demarest Visit Website
Spiritual Director, Author, Educator
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