I want to take a moment to remind everyone that taking up a penitential practice for Lent isn’t the same as a New Year’s Resolution. The prevailing opinion seems to be for the latter that once you “broke it” you can’t regain it. That’s not true for Lent!
If you mess up and break your fast, that doesn’t mean you give up on fasting, it means you redouble your efforts. If you’re experiencing a lot of temptation and spiritual struggle, that’s good! It means you’re developing new spiritual muscles – no one finds working out to be easy when they are just starting.
Everybody makes mistakes or stumbles once in a while. But part of the power of Lent lies in the perfect complementarity of the penitential practices. What do I mean by that? Let’s try an example: Did you give up pop? Drink one by accident? Every time you realize you had pop out of habit, donate a dollar to charity. Or pray a decade of the Rosary. Link prayer, fasting, and alms-giving together, so that even your mistakes become part of a greater scheme of offering up your life to God. Need help with that? Let me know and I’ll help you brainstorm ways!
Want to know the best part? When you turn your mistakes into opportunities to grow closer to God instead of moments where we turn away from Him, you get to laugh in the face of the Devil. If the temptations and trials he puts into your life have the exact opposite effect from what he wanted … well, let’s just say we call that a WIN!