Recently I was listening to Dan Burke give a personal testimony of his failure year after year to accomplish a goal he had to keep his ‘temple’ strong & healthy for God.
I felt relief.
It’s not that I needed to hear that Dan Burke is not perfect at everything, but I needed the reminder of how to take a personal inventory and come up with a plan for myself. I also need to work on the habits necessary to keep my temple strong (that is, physically healthy) and I thought that would be my biggest focus this Lent, but God was able to break through and help me see where I truly need to change.
On a recent morning, I was inspired to go to the Latin mass that I had only been to once before at a nearby parish.It was a little further than my normal parish and I was worried about being on time for mass. I hate being late to mass (a habit I am constantly fighting against) because I know I am disrespecting God Himself.
Adding to my anxiety, parking is always an issue at this parish, especially if you arrive late because their faithful parishioners always come early to pray and prepare for mass (and to get a parking spot). As I pulled up just a few minutes before mass was to start, the volunteer attendant waived me into the lot—which I saw as a little miracle that there would still be open parking spots. I circled the whole lot thinking he had been wrong only to find the corner spot closest to the church open and waiting for me – what luck, I thought, sliding into my seat just minutes before mass began.
I was immediately rewarded with the glorious, other-worldly music echoing through the Church.
But it was the homily that spoke to me deeply that day.
Fr. Anselm encouraged us to to find the desire to break free from habitual sin, explaining what it was and how to fight it. That’s when God helped me see what it is that I have been stuck in for as long as I can remember. Something I have worked on Lent after Lent and even begged God to miraculously take away from me:
My habit of being late.
This might not seem bad in comparison to other sins or vices, but it is something that affects so many others around me in my life and causes pain for them and for me. It all became so clear what I needed to do: create a plan, and be vulnerable enough to bring others into the plan to help me.
I almost started to go down the rabbit hole of shame and self-loathing that I had not been able to accomplish this seemingly small goal that so many around me never struggle with.
That’s when God intervened again with His love, tenderness, compassion and patience. It’s as if I could hear Him saying to me, “I want you to be as patient and compassionate with others’ faults as I have been with yours.”
In that moment, He gave me the picture of the parking spot that He had waiting for me when I arrived only a few minutes before mass was to begin. I would have been late to mass had there not been a space in the lot.
I recognized this was His way to encourage me and prove that He would be there with me to help me as I worked through this. But also to ask me to be THIS generous with others, to have a gift waiting for them even when their bad habits and brokenness are disrespectful to me.
Now I have two beautiful resolutions this Lent—resolutions that God is not only asking of me, but already giving me the grace to desire and begin to work on.
The Lord knows better than we do what we need. When we are attentive to His movements—through others’ stories, homilies, and the circumstances of our lives, we can discern what He is asking of us—in Lent and always.
How do you determine your Lenten resolutions? (Or should I say, how does God help you determine them?)
Image courtesy of Unsplash.