Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Lenten Failure and a Pope's Retirement

I had such high hopes for writing about my journey of Lent this year and what happened?
Well, life seems to have happened. Messy, snarled up, unpredictable life. And all my best-laid plans have gone down the proverbial drain.

Being a good Catholic, I am racked with guilt about my failure...coming so soon in Lent. It doesn't help when I read the profound musings of fellow bloggers and thing, "How do they do that???"

But one of the hallmarks of faith is to get up when you fall down.  So today I'm getting up again and thinking about Lent, and popes, and spring, and prayers.

For the past few years, life itself has provided me with more Lent than Easter. I can remember years when I looked forward to the self-imposed disciplines of fasting and giving something up. Now, in a season of my life when having to give things up -- like dreams that will never come to fruition, hopes that have been dashed forever, paths that can never be walked-- additional Lenten discipline feels superfluous.

In the midst of this, my Lenten failure, came the news that Pope Benedict was resigning, retiring to a life of prayer. Like many people, I didn't know that retirement was an option for a pope. I thought it was a bit like parenthood--you don't get to give up until the day you die and even then, I'm not so sure.

As I pondered the pope's retirement--and my Lenten failure--the thought suddenly came to me that perhaps it wasn't so much that he was retiring as he was starting over. He was giving up (willingly or unwillingly depending on which story of corruption and scandal in the Vatican you read) one chapter of his life to begin another one. "Even at his age, rebooting a life is possible, " I thought. "Until one draws one's final breath, there is always time to begin again."

As I pick up the pieces of Lent, it's a most comforting thought.


  1. Lovely, Woodeene. Probably not so much as what prompted you to write this, but certainly the result. And that's what counts, right?

  2. Michael L. Boswell, Esq.5:27 AM

    We each seek to use the time, treasure, and talents God has given us to serve him. As demonstrated above, you continue to use your gift, the creation of the written word, to serve Him... as it is a "most comforting thought" to those who read it.

  3. Maybe "failing at Lent" IS your Lent. . .besides, it seems you've already paid these 40 days ahead. I don't know how that works, in the economy of things. But always, we begin again. Thank you for sharing your amazing thoughts.

  4. I am truly trying to see what is in my day, the people and events, as the kind of Lent I am supposed to have this year. A very "daily" kind of Lent.

  5. I agree with Deb. It's not the "failure" so much as the attempt. The Lord never expects us to be perfect. He knows we can't be no matter how hard we try. However, He does expect us to give our best effort and I don't think He's up in heaven wringing his hands over the fact you were able to do something for 40 days. Thankfully, his grace and mercy is sufficient and we just have to keep trying so I think you got that part right, dear friend. <3

  6. I don't see any controversy in pope's retirement. Don't pay attention to rumors, guys!


I'd love to hear your comments. Let's talk!