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Living Lent at the Monastery

This Lent, we are sharing about our personal Lenten practices, spiritual reading or favorite Lent Scripture passage.

These reflections will be posted periodically throughout Lent.

March 31, 2023

Sr. Sheila Marie Fitzpatrick

Sunday begins the most holy week of the year for Christians, and also marks the final days of Lent.  We are near the end.  If you have undertaken a practice of fasting and/or almsgiving, it is a good time to reflect on the blessings of this practice.

It may be during this reflection that the feelings of guilt or failure arise.  This is normal.  There is not one human in this world that can resist temptations 100% of the time.  This is an illusion, one that sets us up for failure if we attempt to “achieve” this rate of success.

We are limited human beings, striving to become who God want us to become.  Temptations are inevitable.  St. Augustine wrote, “ Our life here in this time of journeying cannot be without temptation, for it is through temptation that we make progress, and it is only by being tempted that we come to know ourselves.” 

My Lenten book, Grace, On the Journey to God, by Trappist monk Michael Casey, includes a chapter on the grace of temptation, stating that “temptation may well be a mean of making progress in self-knowledge and truth, but it wears us down.”  This is exactly what the devil desires, for us to become discouraged and even give up the struggle.

This is inevitable if we rely only on our will.  We need the grace of God to catch us when we fall into temptation and fall we most certainly will.  But if we can trust in God’s grace, then the more we stumble from temptation, the more we learn about ourselves and the more we come to know that we are utterly dependent on God.

This is the heart of the spiritual journey – to come to know authentically who we are and to learn to trust in the goodness and merciful love of God.

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