I don't about you, but sometimes I suffer from the illusion that I am going save myself. I stumble, fall, usually wallow for awhile, repent, then think I have no more need of a Savior because from here on out I'm going to be good, do right, live in victory. But from a Christian perspective, what does that victory look like? From my viewpoint, I guess I'd say victory looks like a man on a cross.
My above reflection is why our Friday traditio is Francesca Battistelli's "If We're Honest."
Listening to Francesca's song Rich Mullins' "We're Not As Strong as We Think We Are" came unbidden to mind. So, because we're in the thick of Lent, today I offer a twofer. Rich gave this concert in 1997 just a few months before his untimely death:
Because I'm not shy about either my Evangelical or Charismatic leanings, I am happy to link to Dr. Michael Brown's article "Maintaining a Spirit of Optimistic Faith in a Messed-Up World." I don't know about you, but from time-to-time I need these simple reminders. Keep in mind, hope does not equate to optimism. Being the flower of faith, hope transcends optimism and frees us to love as we are loved, which is without condition or calculation, or without evading the fact that sometimes love is tough love. Always keep in mind that to truly love another is to love her/his destiny.
Do not be discouraged if your Lenten observance isn't all you planned it to be, even if your discouragement comes from doing everything you set out to do but don't seem to be any closer to God. Continue abstaining on Fridays, spending time in silence daily, listening for the Lord, even if it's only 5 minutes. Make it to confession and attend Mass on Sundays. Add participation in Stations of the Cross and leave the rest to God.