About this time every year, during the week preceding Holy Week, I try to stop and take stock.  Not so much about "how I did with my Lenten discipline," but what has my Lenten discipline shown me?  What am I learning from it?  What spiritual muscles are sore from new use, and which ones are still flabby?  Have I had insights?  How do I see God working in the world and in my life right now?  Am I looking forward to getting this Lent stuff over with, or will I continue discerning or practicing a discipline I have followed these last weeks?

These are the questions I'll be contemplating this week in preparation for Holy Week.  My contemplation may not yield any answers - I may simply have more questions or feel that some answers are not fully formed yet.  That's ok.  Lenten disciplines are not like weight loss, where at the end you total up the numbers and see if you met your goal.  Lenten disciplines provide a framework, a system, through which we use to focus inward, check out our spiritual health, take stock before possibly setting out a new course in our walk with God in light of the resurrection.

For me, this part is harder than the weeks of Lenten practice alone.  Sitting still and waiting for answers to bubble up is not always what I want to do, nor does it always work that way for me anyway.  I have learned that an insight is just as likely - maybe more likely - to show itself at the grocery story or while walking or swimming or while I'm in conversation with someone.  But the point is to stop and draw breath, look around, see if my spiritual landscape looks different this week than it did six weeks ago.  Have I grown? Have I changed? Have I learned? Have I found something, whether or not it was something I thought I was looking for?

In other words, now is the time to stop and see where I am, see if there is more I want or need to do in any area in these next two weeks or (here's the best part) to see if it is time to begin to live in the light of a new insight.  To see if I am lighter, more open, more generous, more free yet; to see if I have let some things go, laid some burdens down.  I have to make the effort to do this - to get out of the rut of following my discipline, which is often what if turns into by this time.  A habit (which is good) that I may be doing by rote (not so good).  

How about you? Where do you find yourself as you move toward Holy Week?


Perpetua said…
Thank you for this, Penny. I'm going on a day of contemplation and reflection on Easter Eve and this will be very helpful.
Kay said…
What a rich web you got Penny! I was lapsing on the party front but now there was so lavish a dinner the other day, when someone said the Chrisitans of Acts 2:43-47 sharing all in common ran into problems when St.Paul collected offerings for the saints in Jerusalem, Romans 15:25-28. So it all meant, how can it be? The commune system failed, but now, for the point differing when the Lent ends and the Triumphal Entry begins?