Monday, March 10, 2014

Getting on with Lent-day by day

I have long told people that Lent is not a time for beating ourselves up. There are plenty of others who will do that for us.
It is rather a time of grace. A God-given time to do some intensive work on building our relationship with God, rather than trying to make it harder.
Sometimes that mean we do need to be a fit firmer with ourselves, so trying not to over indulge (fasting) might help us with that.
Or it may be that we need to do a little more...prayer, work, worship, Bible reading, acts of kindness.
BUT we so often overlook the obvious. Do more of what is going well!
Spend more time not less with those who are closest too us. Do more of the things that seem to enliven us.
It  not a question of either-or but both-and. What I am sure of is that self-inflicted banging our head against an obvious brick wall...setting impossible goals, trying to solve impossible relationship issues, burning candles at both ends......etc is not what we should be doing.
So as we begin Lent, begin where it looks like things are already going well, and perhaps do a little more.
This is advice Thomas Merton gives to those who came to him on how to pray better. Spend10 minutes instead of 5, pray twice a day instead of once, carry one person in your heart throughout Lent....we can build on that. But if we try to scale the heights without gradually strengthening the foundation we are almost certain to fail.
We may also be surprised by how Lent can be a positive experience rather than an exercise doomed to fail...which we probably never therefore begin

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