If you’ve been on a long trip you’ve seen the signs that point out when the next rest area is coming. Today, Shrove Tuesday, is the like the last “rest” area Catholics will have before the biggest, best rest area to come: Easter. The hard part is getting through those 40 long days.
I’m not good on long trips. I get fidgety, I change the music constantly, I feel the need to stop at every rest area along the way to get out and stretch my legs. I’m the same way in life. For the most part, I change my interests constantly—my hobbies, my favorite movies and books, and especially how I pray. Lent, with its continuity is difficult to say the least. At the same time, the challenge is appealing because I feel that it helps me grow spiritually, and that, for me, is what life is all about.
So what am I doing for Lent this year? I have no idea. Yet. I’m hoping that something will strike me tonight as I indulge in the last stop before the long and winding road of sacrifice and contemplation begins.
One of the pictures I like to keep in my mind during Lent is of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane with Peter, James and John. While he prays, his three closest friends fall asleep. In Matthew 26:40, it says, “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?” It’s an odd picture to have during Lent, perhaps, of failure of the three disciples—but it is one of my favorite scenes in the Bible. It shows Jesus at one of his most human points, I think, scared, maybe a little angry or upset with his friends; but ready to accept what is coming ahead (His Crucifixion).
But I relate to the disciples. The go to pray with Jesus fully prepared to stay awake and be with him, but they fail. Jesus wakes them up and, in my mind pretty much says, “You couldn’t even do one thing and I’m going to die for you!?!” The disciples stay with Jesus, and epically fail another two times.
Why does this image mean so much to me? I think because it shows that we, like the disciples, are going to fail many times, maybe more so during these 40 days of Lent, but we can keep trying.
What are you doing for Lent? Please Share.