As free-spirited as I am, I do find a healthy amount of routine and ritual refreshing now that I know I’m not bound to them. I have grown to love Lent and cherish the moments of stillness, reflection, confession, and preparation over the Church’s biggest holiday… Easter!
When I was younger I didn’t have much choice over whether or not I observed all the pomp and circumstance that came with growing up in a Filipino Catholic family and community. Once I questioned my dad about why we attended mass when he and mom would fall asleep sometimes during the sermon – I don’t quite remember his response, but I remember it was such that I never asked him about it again.
There’s a saying that goes something like: “You can take the girl out of the Catholic church but you can’t take the Catholic out of the girl.” I guess that’s true for me in some ways, as the desperately-trying-to-be-good-little-Catholic-girl in me likes to check in every Advent and Lent to make sure I’ve got some sort of spiritual plan for the season. I think I’ll call her Sister Mary Prudence – or Pru for short.
In middle school, high school and even college it was a big thing for friends and me to “give up” things for Lent (a.k.a. fasting). I think I can confidently say we failed 100% of the time because we didn’t really get why we were doing it. It was usually some diet incentive or secretly a competition, thinking it would be fun to see who could starve or deprive themselves the longest and lose a couple pounds while we were at it (No surprise we usually never lasted more than a couple hours!). It’s like the Apostle Paul said:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Pru’s a little disappointed in how Lent has turned out this year because I’ve let her down by not formally observing it with rigorous intentionality. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the time to pray and plan… I’ll just be honest – the worries of “adulting” have been so overwhelming in this season, too often getting the best of me and I haven’t quite figured out how to get back on track yet. These are the concerns that take up space in my mind and heart that distract me from focusing on Christ, leaving me feeling fearful, hopeless and empty.
I may not have fasted in the traditional sense Pru would have preferred, but I also know that ultimately she’s not the one I need to appease. Sorry Pru, this one’s just between me and God, and I’m grateful a broken heart is enough of a sacrifice for Him.
❤ amanda mae