As our Lenten retreat comes to a close, we pause to reflect on our journey so far. For me, this Lenten season was not the journey I originally planned or prayed for. Reading through my previous blog posts here at Of Sound Mind and Spirit about preparing our hearts for the risen Lord and humbling ourselves before God, I am left feeling I missed the opportunity to strive for holiness this liturgical season. There were opportunities for holiness – prayers, fasts and alms – that I longed to complete. For a moment, I am sad for the Lent that could or should have been this year. Shortly before Lent began, we became aware of a health issue surrounding one of my children. Addressing my daughter’s recovery required a tremendous amount of energy and attention, and my planned Lenten schedule went out the window. However, reflecting over the last month or so, the timing of my daughter’s health issue seems providential. I am amazed at the blessings God has bestowed on my family through Lent and this illness. Looking back at how my husband and I struggled with frustration and feelings of inadequacies as parents to help our child, I realize, “Is there a better way to be humbled before the Lord than to be face to face with something regarding your child that you cannot control?” God provided us an opportunity for a different journey this Lent as a family.
We all have various crosses to bear during the course of our lives and we don’t choose if or when we pick them up. I recognize that this cross, coinciding with the Lenten season, brought us closer to Christ. Each struggle is an opportunity to turn to God and strive for holiness. Once again He reminds me in His own way that the true intention of Lent is not for me to cross-off items on my self-created Lenten to-do list, but to humble myself so I may grow closer to the Lord. By turning to him in prayer and the comfort of the Mass, each of our struggles leads us to the Risen Lord on Easter morning where we can sing “Alleluia, Alleluia!”