Seven hours out from my church's Ash Wednesday service, I could almost say that once again, Lent has snuck up on me, necessitating another 40 day period sans sweets. This time, however, it feels different. I find in this season a sort of desperation. This is not about asceticism, which is good, because asceticism is useless for spiritual growth. Rather, this is about life and death discipleship. This is about taking the war to the enemy's door. I have met the enemy, and he is me.
I find myself learning lessons about my heart these days, painful lessons that show me just how bad it is. It's a painful thing to realize that I've systematically and systemically patted myself on the back for supposed righteousness, excusing and justifying a pride more layered than a delicious tiramisu. I read Herbert's "Lent," per my tradition, today, and I was surprised to find I wasn't just encouraged - I was convicted.
It's true, we cannot reach Christ's forti'th day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Saviour's purity;
Yet are we bid, Be holy ev'n as he.
In both, let's do our best.