Another Wasted Lent

We’re coming up on the end of Lent (tomorrow is the last Friday in Lent since Good Friday is technically “non-Lent”) and I just feel like I wasted it.

The last few years, my well meaning but pharisaic in-laws have influenced my Lenten journey - they essentially give up all sugar, watching tv, and fun in general. I believe one sister-in-law actually feels guilty if she smiles during this time.

So I was trying to overload myself during lent and just felt miserable the entire time. It was as if the things I fasted from or added to my life were high level and not helping me to grow spiritually - just making me miserable.

This year I thought I would take it more lightly - make my Lenten goals attainable! But I’ve had mixed results again. On the one hand, I just have felt so self-indulgent this entire time…like will I ever learn to accept difficulties with an open heart? I haven’t attended any daily mass, been to reconciliation as sparingly as ever, and we have only been to two Stations.

At the beginning of Lent I was right on track and felt so much relief from all the self indulgence I had built up during the winter and was excited to be studying a new book. But life happened, the book is in a drawer…

Any suggestions for me for next year so that I can do Lent right?

Wait a minute: Lent is not over. Get that book out of the drawer and start reading. Even if you don’t finish it by Easter you can give it a start and keep reading through the Easter Season.

As for next year, take a middle of the line approach. Give up something and take on something. And don’t be so hard on yourself.

You say you only went to the Stations of the Cross twice? Great, you made it at least twice – hey, that’s two more times than never. And you’ve at least been to Confession during Lent, again, better than never. Did I mention that Lent is not over? You can still attend another Stations of the Cross and go to Confession again if you can and want to.

As for your family, what they do is their business. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. This is YOUR spiritual journey, do it your way. What works for someone else may not work for you.

lent is different for everyone, there’s no right or wrong to it. there are a couple universal things. when to fast and abstain, which is not even the same from one country to the next.

just do what you think you help you the most and nevermind anyone else. it’s never the way.

i’m reminded of st. Therese and the little way. even the smallest sacrifice is something to God. or the biblical story of the widow with her two pennies

You’re not alone . . . I try not to think of it as “wasted” but my Lent has been one of the most difficult, fragmented, good intentions not fulfilled one in recent memory.

I wasn’t sure what practices I wanted to do going in - had some ideas, but nothing really resolved in my mind.

Then things sort of blew up the first weekend in March - the weather was terrible, parish event going on, I went to it, it was fun but then when I got home one of my rabbits was ill. She died on Mardi Gras and I buried her on Ash Wednesday :bighanky: and I was in shock and grief; it still comes back from time to time. And the looking back, the wanting to never get my life so hectic and not notice something like that, has really worked on my mind.

Sometimes I’ve felt lacking in my trust or devotion to God. Not angry, maybe a bit indifferent. Sometimes I get a better attitude and try to reach out to Him. I pray He forgives me for how hard it is sometimes. I think things will get better. It’s been not my best efforts, hit and miss, piecemeal, and I’m ashamed to admit that but it’s the sad truth.

So I guess we pray for one another and do keep fixed in our minds what Mary_Ellen said, it’s not over yet, we can always begin anew . . . :o Peace and blessings to you.

I think the failure to complete Lenten penance is part of the point: our will-power to self-deny, etc, is not enough, we need supernatural life!

I mean, is the goal to drive to the Easter Vigil feeling good and selfrighteous about what accomplished self-deniers we are??? Or is it to get a few hairs’ length nearer to our LORD by the end of Lent??


Like they said, it isn’t over. Keep going.


what Mary_Ellen said, it’s not over yet, we can always begin anew . . . How true.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, you tried, but the year has not finished its only April. Don’t give up yet, you can still

Promise to go to daily Mass for 2/3 times in the week,
Give up sweets Mon/Wed/Friday.
Remember to say Grace before Meals.
To say Hi to the Lord when you wake up in the morning
talk to the Lord during the day, tell Him your problems etc.

Make an effort to read a page of the Bible and a page of the Catechism every day, first thing in the morning /or at lunch time/or evening time.

Don’t eat meat on Friday- make an omelette - eggs, tomatoes, even put in left over veg.
Have a vegetable soup also if the omelette does not fill you.

Give some kind words out or praise somebody ( For HIs name sake)

What you lost in Lent you can know finish at the post with the above.

God Bless. Walk with the Lord

You might look at the positives. You have been to Reconciliation and you’ve attended Stations of the Cross twice. Those are good things to have done during Lent.

You still have Holy Week and the Triduum liturgies coming up. Maybe you could make it to Mass on Holy Thursday and/or the Passion liturgy on Good Friday.

And there’s nothing that says positive practices like weekday Masses or Reconciliation have to stop after Lent. They would be good ways to celebrate the joy of Easter as well, and the Easter season is even longer than Lent!

Shelby - to some extent we all feel this way. No time like the present to change this. Don’t beat yourself up; but try to feel some genuine contrition for the times you’ve given in to your own will rather than mortifying it for the sake of spiritual growth. Use the remaining time in Lent and Holy Week to grow closer to God through prayer, mortification, and good works. Do some spiritual reading. Have some long earnest talks with God. Ask for guidance. Make a good confession. God wants us to love him and to be faithful. In a manageable way, try doing what you can to do just that

Go for the gold!

If each year we would root out one fault, we should soon become perfect.
-“The Imitation of Christ,” Book 1, Chapter11

LOVE! :heart:

As I was reading this thread earlier, I had a thought like this too. In my version of the thought, I had in mind the whole year, and Ordinary Time alone is longer than Lent and Easter put together! :smiley:

Part of this thought may have come from observing that there’s a current thread named “Lent - A time to sow good seed on fertile soil.”

Part of this thought may come from a little instructional pamphlet titled something like “My Daily Way of the Cross,” which simply contains a method for making the Stations of the Cross. Although I haven’t used it literally as a “daily” Stations of the Cross (I could pray the Stations more :p, and I tend to use a different format anyway), it’s a bookmark in a prayer book that I use more often. The title may be helpful in reminding me that much of what people do in Lent need not be (and probably should not be) confined to one season of the year (especially if we think of broad categories such as “prayer,” “fasting,” and “almsgiving”).

I absolutely agree!

Lent can be the time to start a practice and get it established. And once it’s established, it can simply continue to be part of our lives. You probably wouldn’t want to do that with some penitential practice that makes you totally miserable, but for something like additional prayer time or charitable activities, you become a better disciple year-round.

I used to always make certain sacrifices for Lent, hoping to keep many going during the year.
I would continue them through, maybe, the end of the summer. And then start again. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit, so Lent should really ingrain that.

But this year, and maybe it’s because I got sick in the middle or something, I just have sputtered instead of taking off.

Maybe it was that the things I gave up didn’t affect my DAILY life.

Ultimately, I haven’t found the time to increase my prayer life - either through daily mass, devotions, stations, etc, and I don’t have the helping hand I have in years past to encourage me to keep it up (inside or outside Lent).

But thanks for the encouragement - I will try to beef it up!

Try giving up something that takes time, such as an hour a day for the rest of Lent. For that hour, meditate on the daily readings. Put Jesus in the readings, then the Catholic Church, and then yourself. Always pray first. You can just start with a Hail, Mary.

Mark 12:33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

^^^^This!^^^^ Great advice! :thumbsup:

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.

He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.

Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!

You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden: feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted: let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted His flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed: “Hades was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions”.

It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and came upon God!
It took earth and encountered Ηeaven!
It took what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept.
To Him be glory and might unto the ages of ages.

  • St John Chrysostom

I empathise as I have not stuck to either of the promises I made. They were things I enjoy doing. One I did forget, but then got back to a couple of days later, but still feel I failed. The other I let slip, any explanation would just be an excuse. I did do some positive things this lent but certainly feel that my abstinence was a failure. When it got hard in the second promise I did try once more, but pretty much given up over the last week.

I gave up these things as they are things I enjoy, to learn how to say no to the little temptations to choose pleasure rather then restraint and to have more time with God. (I did spend some of the extra time praying and thinking so there are positives, just like the others saw in OP.

Remember also, that when Our Lord went into the wilderness to be test of Satan, He didnt bring in a list of things to “do or not do” for 40 days.

Lent is a wonderful time to help with strengthning our self-discipline and one of penance no doubt.

But we should also remember that in the end it’s all about our relationship with our Lord.

My Lent this year as also, by actions, nothing to write home about. But it did have it’s own element of purification due to the crosses that have been and continue to be in my and my family’s life.

So though even if I didnt stick to “my list”, the Lord still made use of these 40 days in my life, it was just different from “my list”

God Bless your Holy Week.

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