We are now almost halfway through Lent, at the end of this month we will begin our Vigil as we light the sacred fire, consecrate the Paschal candle, and pass that sacred fire–the enlightenment of Christ–from one to another in the most beautiful liturgy this side of paradise.
So, how is Lent going for you? Here’s some advice that St. Francis de Sales offered:
What can you do to strengthen your resolutions and make them succeed? There is no better means than to put them into practice. But you say that you are still so weak that, although you often make strong resolutions not to fall into the particular imperfection of which you want to cure yourself, no sooner does the occasion present itself than down you go.
Shall I tell you why you are still so weak? It is because you will not abstain from food that does not agree with you. It is as if a person who wished to be free from pains in the stomach were to ask a physician what she should do. The doctor replies, ‘Do not eat such and such food, because it brings you pain’; and yet you will not abstain from it. You do the same. You should accept correction with joy, and yet you choose instead to remain attached to your own opinions. That is foolishness. You will never be strong enough to bear reproof courageously while you are nourishing yourself with the food of your own opinions. ~ St Francis de Sales, Practical Piety, ch. 25.
We mark the midpoint of Lent [March 8th] a little after it, on the 4th Sunday of Lent, March 11, which is known as Laetare Sunday; Laetare is Latin for “rejoice,” and the entrance antiphon for the Mass is Isaiah 66:10-11, which begins “Laetare, Jerusalem” (“Rejoice, O Jerusalem”). You’ll see me in beautiful rosy pink vestments that day, a reminder that there is cause for joy even during the somber days of Lent.