Once again, there is the opportunity to welcome special Graces reserved only for this time! Again… the threat of reaching the end of the 40 days without having fulfilled the purposes of Ash Wednesday: reconciliation, prayer, fasting, penance, alms, conversion!
Why is it that every year we end up not living Lent as we would like, in one way or another? My feeling is that we do not have the necessary disposition to live it as God would like. It is because we trust more in ourselves than in Him.
You see, when we begin Lent, we fill ourselves with our good and praiseworthy intentions, but we end up disappointing ourselves, renouncing, perhaps even on the 40th day, or remembering what we were willing to do. Because here – in this situation unfortunately so common in our spiritual life – we have our plans and goals and the strength to reach them! Result: total disaster. We remain the same! No resurrection!
How about doing something different this year? Let us deeply examine the last months or years of our lives and realize in God what He is trying to have us change in ourselves. Knowing that Jesus always answers us, we can ask Him: “Lord, let me know where your Grace acts – or is trying to act – in this time. Have you tried to pull me out of pride? From vanity? Resentment towards someone? From the too little prayer? From too much confidence in myself? From the excesses? From the ridiculous thought that I can save myself?”
Let us not forget that the Lord’s action is called Grace. This changes our life. It is the action of the power of love of our God.
Once again, in Lent, the Lord knocks on your door. This door is full of prickly and rusty spikes of pride that refuse submission to Grace. The door is sealed by self-sufficiency in all its minimum voids. Locked up with the iron bars of self-saving mentality, which thinks foolishly about being saved if we do a lot of good things by ourselves.
It turns out that Jesus is accustomed to nails, denials, barriers. Full of love, He persists and keeps knocking. A child, after hearing a knock, runs to the door, stops on tiptoe and pulls the latch, smiling and welcoming. Free. No complication: moved by Grace open to Grace, thirsty for Grace.
In order that this Lent will no longer be a failure for your good intentions, begin by renouncing your “willpower” and opening yourself to Grace.
Begin, preferably before Lent, by following the advice of St. Augustine: “The confession of evil deeds is the first step”. After the sacrament of Reconciliation, as a result of that revision of God’s unrequited Graces, after having gained another time the same state in which you came out in your Baptism by pure Grace, run and open the door, be free, smile, and confident as a child.
Get ready for a flood of Grace. In His wisdom, God reserves special Graces for every liturgical season. Prepare yourself for a great flood. As St. Teresa says, God is offended when we ask little. It is offensive, therefore, when we expect little. It is even more offensive when we do not receive or welcome the generosity of Grace that comes from knocking on the door.
Once again, Lent! Once again, the Lord knocks at the door! Open it to Him, tiptoe like a child and prepare to reap the incomparable fruit of the Resurrection.