Monday, March 7, 2011

Catholic + single + Lent

I just entered the following in a contest on Catholic Match:

I used to feel an impulse at the beginning of every Lent to make close to a dozen Lenten resolutions. Of course, I would never end up keeping them all, but I am an ambitious perfectionist, and I would always think . . . maybe this Lent will be the time I finally succeed in getting everything right. And behind that desire there was sometimes this sneaking thought: Maybe once I correct all these faults, God will finally reward me with the man of my dreams.

The problem with that attitude is not just that it is impractical, but that it is self-centered. Lent is supposed to be about me turning toward God in a more radical way, not me making myself the holiest woman on Catholic Match.

An insightful priest once informed me that singles have a very hard life. I had gone to him for advice on how to handle the emptiness I was feeling. Well, yes, I thought, sometimes I am lonely and discouraged, but look at all the extra free time I have compared to those that are raising families. Shouldn’t I be doing more? Praying for three hours every day? Volunteering? No, he told me, the Lord was asking me, not to do more, but to let Him do everything with me.

This year, I’ll still be making a Lenten plan. To let the Lord in, I need to spend some solid time in prayer every day. I may still give up chocolate and try to be reminded of how my desire for the Lord should be even stronger than my sugar cravings. But the best mortification is surely to accept my singleness with trust and live my daily life in His company, embracing all the crosses that come my way unsought.

1 comment:

  1. "No, he told me, the Lord was asking me, not to do more, but to let Him do everything with me."

    What beautiful insight! I will definitely take that with me this Lent.