What Was My Goal This Lent?
Lent Reflection
By Monsignor Michael Tierney Ordained 1967, retired
April 7, 2022
I had a friend who gave up smoking every Lent. On Easter Sunday morning he would proudly light up a cigarette with the attitude: “I can still do it!” He proved he could achieve a goal, but that did not bring him closer to the Lord. 
The purpose of Lent, by the end of Lent, is to make us more Christ-like than we were at the beginning. Jesus calls us to grow in perfection and Lent is the discipline to help us in that growth day by day.
Ultimately, Lent is a process of dying to self and rising to Christ. If we cling to attitudes and habits that mean little, our Lenten journey shows us to be far more attached to things than we thought we were. The call of Lent is to divest ourselves of these distractions and center our attention on that which makes us more Christ-like. Through prayer, through fasting, through works of compassion, we follow in the footsteps of Jesus during the 40 days of Lent.
During Holy Week we re-live the experience of the apostles. On the first Palm Sunday they entered with Jesus into Jerusalem to the cheers of crowds. On the following Thursday they were puzzled by Jesus speaking of the bread and wine as His body and blood. On Friday, when Jesus was crucified, the apostles abandoned Him at the cross and ran the other way. 
Their world was crushed by His death. For three years they had followed Him, but they had not listened and understood well enough to overcome their fears and confusion. 
Life is experienced in journeys like this. It is only after experiencing the risen Lord that the apostles really began to understand the mystery of dying to self and rising with Jesus.
During this Holy Week, ask yourself, “What was my goal this Lent?” 
Did I rise to a different level of relationship with Jesus through my Lenten observances and actions? Will I be connecting with my neighbor in a way that is more Christ-like, or will I immediately fall back into the old way of doing things? 
The gradual conversion experience of the apostles gives us reason to keep trying even when we fail. Lent into Easter is a graced time of hopefully becoming more like Jesus as we unite with Him in His passion, death and resurrection. Let that be our journey this Holy Week.
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