Recently I’ve been sorting through some of my late mother’s things. I always kidded her about being a pack rat, but now I know how unfair that was to the rats. She saved everything. Things you might expect, like photos and letters, and things that might surprise you, like a plastic bag of prescription bottle caps. Going through the boxes of her things made me laugh and made me cry. I saw what she had treasured and mostly, that was her family. She loved us so much. And while I’d dreaded going through all those boxes, in the end, it was a wonderful blessing.
That’s kind of how my Lent has gone this year. Usually I’m excited about Lent. I like the discipline of it and the way that I’m drawn into the readings and prayers as the entire Church journeys toward Easter. But, for some reason, I dreaded Lent this year. I dragged along with a sour face and an unwilling spirit on most days. My prayer life seemed as dry as dust. I was the worst example of a joyous Christian. Instead of accompanying our Savior, I shuffled along in the back of the crowds and complained about all the walking. I resented the joy that I saw among His friends. I judged. I mumbled. I just wanted a nap. And now Lent is almost over and everyone around me has grown in holiness and reverence and charity. I’m about as holy as that bag of bottle caps I found in my mom’s collected stuff. I’m still the same old selfish, prideful self that I was back on Ash Wednesday. I’m a total failure at Lent.
Thanks be to God, our Lord doesn’t keep score. We can be total flops at Lent and He still loves us. We don’t have to ‘do” anything or “be” anything other than the completely undeserving sinner that we are for His love to save us. I’m good at that. In fact, being an undeserving sinner comes naturally to me. The blessing He’s given me this Lent is the gift of knowing with assurance that there’s nothing I can do to earn His love and there’s nothing I can do to make Him love me less.
Over the days of Holy Week, I’m going to be with Jesus as He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. I’ll be waving a palm frond and shouting,”Hosanna!” I’ll be there as He gives us the priesthood and the Eucharist on Holy Thursday. I’ll be the first one to fall asleep in the Garden but I’ll be there in the crowd to shout, “Crucify Him!” I’ll hide while He’s nearly beaten to death. I’ll walk up the hill to Golgotha where they’ll nail Him to the Cross. I’ll watch His Blessed Mother as her heart is pierced with sorrow. I’ll see Him die. For me. For this undeserving sinner.
Just as sorting through my mother’s things was a chore that ended in a blessing, so has this Lenten season been for me. In each, I found a treasure of love, freely given. I wasn’t the best daughter and I’m very far from a Saint, but I know that I am loved. My Easter prayer for each of us is that we can embrace the love of Christ and share it with the people in our lives.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; HisMercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”