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What Is Success During Great Lent?

Day 6 of Great Lent

We have arrived at Saturday of the first week of Great Lent! We are almost through one week of our journey toward the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord. So, how did it go for you? Let me ask you by a show of hands (hopefully you are reading this by yourself): How many of us failed in some way during this first week? Perhaps a better question is: How did we fail this first week? It is very likely that all of us feel we failed in some way. That leads us to a very important question to ask ourselves:

What is success during Great Lent?

Is it that we made sure no meat or dairy products touch our taste buds? If we are trying to measure our success by how we kept the “letter of the Law” in our fasting, prayer, and almsgiving…we are already failures, because that is not what Great Lent is supposed to be about.

In our Gospel reading today, the Pharisees are upset because the disciples of the Lord were out plucking heads of grain to eat on the Sabbath. That was against the letter of the Law! The Pharisees made sure they pointed this out to Jesus. Jesus responded to them with these words:  “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

I hope you can see already the direct implications of these words of Jesus. We can apply this directly to Great Lent:

“Great Lent was made for man, not man for Great Lent!”

Great Lent is here for our good; it is not some legalistic test that we must pass. Great Lent is our opportunity to draw closer to God, to break the false lordships that we have in our lives (like my own stomach and its desires for certain foods), and to more fully embrace the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Great Lent is there for our blessing, not for some crazed hardship that might be rooted in a false spiritual pride that we cannot see. This is why we don’t simply “do our own thing” during it, but we seek the counsel and direction of our spiritual father as to what we should be doing. Even though we go through Great Lent together, each of us may have a little bit different way that we should observe it. Some may not be fasting from foods at all because of their particular circumstance, but they may be increasing other areas of their spiritual lives: prayers, devotions, and almsgiving. 

Great Lent is here to bless you! It is “made” for you! Will it be a struggle at times? Of course it will! Good things often take extra effort on our part. As we journey into the 2nd week, may you experience the blessings and spiritual growth that God has for you!!

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