09 Mar FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT 2014
On this First Sunday of Lent when the Gospel places before us the forty days of Jesus in the desert, we offer the first of our Lenten reflections.
LENTEN REFLECTION ONE
“The monotony of Sacrifice”
St Therese of Lisieux once declared, “To ecstasy, I prefer the monotony of sacrifice”. We might feel she had strange tastes and we would choose differently, given the chance. But the point is that, heroic soul though she was, she found sacrifice monotonous.
We embark on our Lenten resolutions with a firm resolve, bracing ourselves for the long challenge ahead, perhaps with a secret sense of our own noble generosity. But the end of the first week finds our enthusiasm flagging and by the end of the second it is all becoming a bit of a bore. Once we have slipped up a few times we can no longer feel heroic and there is a strong temptation to give the whole thing up. As Therese said again, with her keen insight into human nature, “We would like to suffer in the grand manner”. But her secret was that she never allowed herself to be discouraged by failure. She is not afraid to say of herself, “I am a very insignificant person, who can’t offer to God anything but insignificant sacrifices. Sometimes I miss the chance of making them, sacrifices that give me such peace of soul; but I don’t lose heart, I just resign myself to the loss of one peaceful hour, and try to be more on my guard another time”.
To humbly renew our efforts and keep going, when our Lenten performance is already looking a bit tattered, will lead us more deeply into the celebration of our Redemption than any success story would ever do.