Lent is not a test of endurance — it’s a test of love

Lent is not a test of endurance — it’s a test of love

Hearing about the temptation of Jesus is a very good way for us to start Lent.

Maybe you’re like me, and you made a Lenten Promise on Ash Wednesday, and four days later you’ve already broken it. Or maybe you forgot to make a Lenten Promise completely, and now Lent has already started.

Either way, it doesn’t feel very good. It feels like Lent is over for us. We’ve missed the train, or we’ve fallen off. But we can’t give in to discouragement. Discouragement is a great temptation. It’s one of the devil’s favourite tricks.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that even Jesus suffered temptation. Even though he is God, Jesus is like us in all things but sin. So the devil played his tricks on him too. If Jesus suffered temptation, then why shouldn’t we?

So let’s reject the temptation of discouragement, and start again. We might have missed the train at the station, or fallen off already, but it’s easy enough to jump on that train right now.

In that spirit, let’s talk about the Lenten Promise for a moment.

Some people think BIG. For example, they might give up biscuits for the whole of Lent. But that can become a test of endurance, which eventually invites failure. It’s like travelling on the roof of the train, hanging on for dear life. It’s no wonder people fall off!

Sometimes it’s better to think small. St Thérèse always has good advice:

“Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.”

Lent is not a test of endurance. Lent is a test of love! So rather than travelling on the roof of the train, maybe it’s better to travel the normal way, in the carriage, on a seat, but with the window open now and then, even though its cold and windy, and we’d prefer it closed.

Here is an example of a small Lenten Promise, done with love:

“At breakfast time I didn’t have my normal cup of tea. I had a cup of hot water instead. It’s not much of a sacrifice is it? But this is the important part: when fasting is an act of love, it is always accompanied by prayer.

So while I was having my cup of water, I prayed. I spoke to the Lord Jesus and told him that I was doing this as an act of love. I prayed for others. I asked him to answer their prayers. And I asked him to help me grow in faith and love.”

That’s what a small Lenten Promise looks like. It’s just one cup of tea, first thing in the morning: a little thing, done with love. You don’t give up your other drinks. Just the first one, at breakfast time. The window of the train is open, but only for a short time. Not long enough to fall out!

But remember — if you do fall off the train again, don’t be discouraged. Even Jesus suffered temptation. Just get back on that train, as many times as needed, until the train arrives at its destination: Easter Sunday!

This homily is shamelessly plagiarised from Fr Aidan Kieran, who blogged about “The Little Way of Fasting” one year ago. His post was reblogged this Lent, and it has become viral. If you haven’t read the original, I strongly recommend it! The Little Way of Fasting, by Fr Aidan Kieran.

Both my Masses this morning are school Masses, so I’m effectively preaching to the students. For a deeper take on fasting and penance, read Fr Ray Blake, who writes with typical wit and humility: I hate fasting.

  • Simon Hogan

    Hello Fr. John and fellow posters! I don’t what is real word for us! Anyway I need some help I got a share in a racehorse it hasn’t got a name yet! It’s stable name is Annie because the mother just after given birth!
    If you think of any names let me know!
    Plus I know this called a country blog but man who been taken photos for number of years in the country meetings had to stopped because of this! Please help him he lives in Hamilton area!

    The support from most of you over the loss of my Racing Photography Accreditation has been overwhelming, thank-you and sorry if I have not personally replied, there have just been too many, and to be honest it hurts to even talk about it.

    What also has hurt has been the lack of support from some who have had a FREE run with me for over 5 years – clubs, trainers, individuals, media outlets alike – you do wonder sometimes!

    Looking across Facebook since I lost my pass, I see racing photos everywhere from unaccredited people as well as owners/trainers with photos up from said photographers.

    At the moment I HATE the Racing Industry, and the way I have been treated – and when that happens like anything in life, it is hard to forgive.

    I have hardly slept the past two nights because I know I gave 100 times more than I took from this Sport, all for a kick in the guts and basically told to nick off!
    This name is Peter Morganti
    Please sign up or sent a email to racing victoria or write to them personal or ring them up.https://www.change.org/p/racing-victoria-let-morgs-shoot-re-instate-his-racing-photography-permit
    Thanks I know this is nothing related to church!
    Keep Well from and happy punting from Simon the Pieman.

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