Lent has returned, again, just like these purple crocuses that pop up in the flower beds along the south lawn of our Monastery enclosure. The Lenten season has always been a tough on for me. It seems that I choose the same Lenten resolution every year and every year about half-way through Lent I realize how much 'work' I have to do to keep my resolution.
Yes, yes, I know 'work' shouldn't be the word a 'Sister' uses for the practice of Lenten focus on Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. However, it is tough work to search the soul and see what is holding you back from better relationship with God, is the same thing that has been tugging at your shirt-tales for a lifetime. Benedict advises his monks dedicate their life to Lenten living (RB 49)...maybe it's because it takes that long to truly bring about the desired change.
Although the life of a monk
ought to have about it at all times
the character of a Lenten observance,
yet since few have the virtue for that,
we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
the brethren keep their lives most pure
and at the same time wash away during these holy days
all the negligences of other times.
And this will be worthily done
if we restrain ourselves from all vices
and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.
Even though I struggle with Lent, it is also my favorite liturgical season for prayer. I grew up attending the Stations of the Cross and Frist Friday Adoration with a few family devotionals added into the mix. The celebration of this all too human experiece of Jesus suffering was a facination to me as a child. The readings from the Old and New Testaments used to tell the story always left me wondering...how could they not know who Jesus was? After 14 years in the monastery, the Stations are still one of my 'go to' reflections during this season and I still ponder the same question; however, it has altered slightly...how could I not know who Jesus in my midst?