Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent
“…observe them, and they will demonstrate to the peoples your wisdom and understanding.”
I discovered an app this Lent – Hallow — that I’m hoping will help me to become more disciplined about fasting, praying and almsgiving. That’s right. I’m using an app to help me get through Lent. The app works like a daily challenge. Every day, there is an activity – a prayer, a reflection, a litany, a rosary, or meditations. Each activity takes anywhere between 5-7 mins (if you’re in a hurry) or 20-30 mins (if you have a little more time to spare). The app gives you the option of doing the long or short version of the activity. Once you’re done with that day’s challenge, you are asked to write down any insights you might have had in the app’s journal. Simple enough!
Why am I doing this? Well, every Lent I try to fast from anger; I try to pray daily, or at the very least, engage with God once a day; and I try to give my time, my talent and treasure without resentment. But every year, my Lenten efforts, which always start off with so much gusto, falter around the halfway mark. So, this year, I thought I’d try something different. If nothing else, the journal within the app should help me to figure out what I am doing wrong.
Three weeks into Lent and I now have a decent-sized dataset from which to draw some conclusions. I was right about one thing. The journal within the app is a trove of self-insight. One of the entries, probably written during a moment of despair was, “I am so broken that to even think of desiring this (my enemy’s success over my own) is beyond me”. Another gem was, “It is not wisdom that saves, it is ignorance. I am not so wise as to not need His grace”. Reflecting on the Rosary I wrote, “The Rosary can be a coping mechanism for my anger issues. Use more often!”. Reflecting on the Crucifixion, “My sins, my pride, my arrogance can be nailed to the cross in order for my new Christian self to be reborn”. Lamenting on some of my more tenuous relationships, “I really need Christ’s mercy to get me through family dinner tonight”.
Anyone reading this would be appalled by the state of my spiritual life. I am appalled by it. You don’t realize the depths of your lows until you look from a distance. It’s a blessing that there are 40 days and an entire Holy Week to the season of Lent for me to make amends. It’s an even greater blessing that these nuggets of self-realization are occurring at the halfway mark. Maybe this Lent, I’ll be able to stay in the saddle. I see a trip to Confession in my near future. And a lot more effort at prayer and self-reflection for the rest of the Lenten season.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for God’s mercy and His grace this Lent. That He gives us the gift of self-awareness, of humility and determination. May He help us to get back in the saddle when we fall off, no matter how many times that needs to happen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the wonder of science and technology, that a simple app can be such a powerful tool for self-awareness, prayer and worship.