Every Ash Wednesday I prepare to begin my Lent with lofty goals and intense spiritual work alongside physical things I plan to sacrifice. We’ve all made those lists—full of extra Masses, more prayer time, arising early, and no chocolate. I always have fairly high hopes to succeed at these disciplines and achieve some state of greater spiritual holiness. And then as Lent progresses, I experience my humanity and the failure of many expectations of what I would “get out” of Lent force me to step back and acknowledge my weaknesses.
For the people at the gates of Jerusalem, their expectations of what they would “get out” of Jesus were at an all-time high. As Jesus entered upon a donkey on that Palm Sunday long ago, people erupted in grand gestures of blessing and honor. His arrival, they expected, would change their circumstances. To some, He would be their earthly ruler, or a leader of armies, fitting their expectations of the Messiah. And yet not one week after their Hosannas, we share in with their outcry of “Crucify Him!” Circumstances would be changed, just not how they expected Him to do so.
Easter is on the horizon; Lent is drawing to an end. What have our expectations for this season been? Have we been so focused on tangible earthly results that we’ve missed the greater picture of how Love has come to dwell in us and change us?
My failure isn’t in what I didn’t accomplish this Lent, but rather that I thought I’d be the one making the changes. This year God has been teaching me how if I truly seek His plan and submit to it, then I’m succeeding, even if only a little.
Listen to the WHOLE story today. It’s long, but it’s good. Dig in deep this Holy Week, sisters, and be open to Christ’s gift of Himself, body and blood, soul and divinity. Drop your expectations at the foot of the Cross.
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.