WDTPRS POLL! Your progress through Lent: honest assessment

Passiontide is around the corner.

How are you doing with your Lent?

Your voting is entirely anonymous and, to my knowledge, cannot be traced by me or followed back.


Feel free to describe your experience, share or add tips, and give each other some encouragement as we ready ourselves for the more profound Passiontide.

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  1. lucy says:

    I had a few ideas for Lent this year. One was to attend daily Mass, which quickly fizzled out. I have gone more than any other year, but still not where I would like to be in that journey. I also started reading “The Passion of Jesus” by Fr. James Groenings, S.J. written in 1900, during Adoration every week. I have held to that much easier. Other things include continuing to cut back on portions of food. All in all sounds sorta lightweight, but considering we’re homeschooling our four kids, it’s something that has been doable. I just want to keep getting better every year and not beat myself up over not getting it all done.

  2. Choirmaster says:

    I fell 2.5 times.

    The third time was on a Sunday, and I’m still not clear on how that works.

    I will say “three” in the Confessional, though.

  3. avecrux says:

    The part that didn’t work was the early rising. I was going to rise early for a daily holy hour. I am making the daily holy hour, but later in the day. I have been too tired to get up early.

  4. SimonDodd says:

    I made a plan and have stuck to it—with one exception, and while I’m not happy about the exception, it was on the first Monday of lent and I attribute it to sheer force of habit.

  5. KAS says:

    I learned a lot this Lent about penances. I’ve discovered that when there are things in your life that are penances in and of themselves and you are trying to avoid them and then try to add something else–that something else is part of the avoidance and it will fail.

    So, my plan failed utterly and with humiliation for me but I gained in that I am now struggling to handle that which I was trying to avoid. it is a miserable penance, I am not enjoying it, but I am trying to have the right attitude and to do my penance.

    I’m uncomfortable, offering it up, struggling, and learned something–so, I failed my plan, gave it up, and am benefitting from the lesson learned.

    Does this count?

  6. FrCharles says:

    One of my classmates calls me a ‘church nerd.’ I guess one example of this is keeping track of my lenten observances over the years on a chart, as well as their relative success or failure. It’s taught me something useful: Sometimes my practical failures are spiritual successes, and occasionally my practical successes bear no spiritual fruit. This year I’ve done well with my prayer and almsgiving practice, but the fast elements have fallen apart. But God has used them to teach me things I need to know. Thanks for the post!

  7. Brian Day says:

    I am participating in the “40 Days for Life” Campaign. I committed to two hours every Monday during Lent to pray in front of the local Planned Parenthood office. I missed one day due to a cold, but I am not counting it as falling down. (I have a compromised immune system due to cancer, so any illness could be disastrous. A bit of discretion was advised.)

  8. JonM says:

    My original plan began to come apart for various reasons (esp. it not being firm.)

    Sunday I was inspired by St. Francis to attempt a harsher series of penances for the rest of Lent. I feel like now it is much more in line with what I ought to do.

    My recitation of the Rosary was pretty lame during the first two weeks, so I’ve stepped that up too.

  9. marypatricia says:

    I have found this Lent very difficult-made a plan with too much in it, so fell very quickly and had to cut back. Even the small things I am doing seem to be so much harder than other years and I still slip up.
    However, every day I try to start anew and remind myself that a saint is one who falls and gets up, falls and gets up.
    I’ll be glad when it’s over though!

  10. PilarDLS says:

    I am trying to do my Lenten observance, but seem to be going through a spiritual dry spell. I am joining the Church at Easter. Seems Satan is trying to pull me back in. Please pray for me.

  11. arotron theou says:

    I started with adding more to my daily prayer, a plan in which I have not been quite so assiduous as I intended, but I am persevering. I also later added the sacrifice of the snooze button, an effort that is a notable challenge for me. As last year, when I gave up sugar in my coffee, I intend to continue these efforts.

  12. marthawrites says:

    I had planned to eat less and not in between meals, a regimen I have only been partially successful at keeping to, but early on I decided that since I wasn’t being faithful to that form of fasting I would fast from sleep. One of our priests began offering a 6:00 a.m. TLM five days a week, so I get up 45 minutes earlier than usual to attend that. Immediately afterwards I attend the NO Mass at 6:45 which has been my practice for quite few years. Most but not all days I can be a Eucharistic adorer at a downtown church which, again, is my usual practice. What I’ve added to that is reading Cardinal Newman’s book on Lent and the Catena Aurea version of St. Mark’s Gospel. Each year I’ve found that what I’ve selected to read during Lent (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) has defined that season for me better than anything else I’ve done.

  13. Flambeaux says:

    I made a plan. That failed. I picked myself up and scaled back. That failed, too. I have some pocket lint and a lot of discouragement.

  14. TKS says:

    A small thing to some, but I limited myself to two cans of soda a day for Lent. Since I have never had anything else to drink, including never drinking a cup of coffee or a beer, it made me acutely aware of this penance. It makes me stop and reflect more this Lent than any other. Odd I know, but what works works.

  15. kelleyb says:

    I have utterly failed, period. But I have gone to adoration more often and am doing some spiritual reading.

  16. MikeM says:

    This has been an abnormally rough Lent for me. Rather than picking up my dropped plans, I just decided on a revision for the remainder of Lent that won’t necessarily be easier, but won’t be as prone to issues outside of my control and will hopefully make up for some o the last ground spiritually.

    Things that are usually no problem for me have been really difficult this lent for some reason.

  17. Steve K. says:

    Flambeaux, I have had the same experiences. Funny, this Lent it seems the harder I try, the worse I failed. There’s a message in there (I know, it’s not “give up”), I am sure. I am not pleased with myself this Lent.

  18. Ceile De says:

    Unimaginative though it is, I gave up alcohol for Lent. It hasn’t been hard. Today is St. Patrick’s Day and in Ireland, where I am from, there is a general understanding (on quite what authority I am not sure) that even those who gave up drink for Lent may drink today. I am choosing not to anyway as I am not sure if that relaxation applies extraterritorially.

  19. Philothea says:

    God made the Lenten plan for me this year (serious illness, loss of independence). I’m trying to conform to His will, one day at a time.

  20. Torpedo1 says:

    sigh… I had planned to give up all sweets and other things like that, snacks, pop and the like, for Lent. I have failed completely, but what I have stuck with is a daily rosary. I’ve never done that before and it is really really helping. I have to go to Confession on Saturday, and if my priest asks how my prayer life is going, I’ll be happy to tell him that at least. I guess it’s a small thing, but I’m trying to be happy about it.

  21. KarenLH says:

    Could you add:

    “I made a plan, realized that it had to be adjusted, and have stuck with the adjusted plan.”

    It’s not really the same as scaling back. My original plan just wasn’t workable in its original form. With that caveat, I think this is the first Lent ever that I haven’t fallen on my face the first week of Lent and just given up. I think what made the difference this year was that I knew that this was something that I needed to do, and I knew why: It wasn’t just giving up something arbitrarily, and it was toward a goal. I had a really strong sense that I would be turning my back on an opportunity if I gave up this year, and that’s helped a lot in sticking with it.

  22. Random Friar says:

    A little advice on your Lenten penance/addition: Ask yourself, why are you doing it? Are you doing it to show off to yourself? I did a penance when I was much younger that was pretty strict (a very sparse diet). It didn’t help me as much spiritually as some of my later ones, which I knew would target a specific weakness (food is not one — so that serious, hardcore diet I did was not a big aid to me, in the end).

    If you fall, get back up, assess, and move forward with God’s grace. The Enemy would love nothing more than to rob you of the fullness of His Mercy and Easter joy by keeping you down.

  23. Girgadis says:

    When I’m in need of motivation, I remember my favorite saint and heavenly friend, St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Once she admonished a novice who was dawdling on her way to chapel: “Is this how a mother with children to feed goes about her work?” I remember her plea that Jesus thirsts for souls, and that many souls are falling into hell. Some of those souls are people I love, which adds urgency to making every possible sacrifice that I can. When I’m having trouble getting up early on Saturday to get to Mass, or when I think I should put off confession for another week, I remind myself that this opportunity may be my last, so I’d better seize the moment. These are the ways that I try to keep my resolve during Lent to make every sacrifice possible, even if all it is is staying on my knees an extra 30 seconds or spending a few more minutes in Adoration than I’d planned.

    By the way, I think it’s great what some folks do during Lent, but wouldn’t it be something if we could keep this up throughout the year, so that every Lent, we simply added another spiritual exercise or two?

  24. VEXILLA REGIS says:

    My plan is to re-read Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. I am nearly finished Vol I and will go on to Vol. II and finish it even if it goes into Eastertide and I think I will then go on to “The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ” I find Archbishop Goodier’s books a remarkable source of Grace, putting me closely in touch with Our Lord. It is a privilege to have access to them

  25. capchoirgirl says:

    For my Lent, I gave up book buying. For me this is HUGE, I usually by 5-7 books a week. It’s definitely something I was too attached to. I haven’t bought any books, and it’s been easier than I thought, partially because my birthday is immediately post-Lent (4/9), so I can get any books I really want then. But I am the world’s least-patient person, so even that sort of waiting is a bit difficult.
    I’m reminded of a story about St. Teresa of Avila. She had all these plans for Lent, but was bedbound for almost the entire season. When she asked God about this in prayer, He said that THIS was the Lent he had planned for her. Something to think about. I know I’ve had Lents that have not been at all what I thought they’d be, and this idea helps.

  26. Dr. Eric says:

    I had the intention of reading a set of readings in which a good bit of the Fathers were read each day: Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Leo the Great, etc…

    I have fallen behind, I need to get back up on the horse and read 2 sections until I catch up.

    I also wanted to pray the prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, some one misplaced the translation that I like, I have to find another one.

    Last year, I read “The Ladder” by St. John Climacus- one step per day for the month of March. I really didn’t get it, all I remember is that many of the abbots were very uncharitable (so it seemed to me) to the lower monks- and this was presented as a good thing- as I wrote, I didn’t get it. I didn’t read it this year.

    I have, as I did last year and previous years, said the devotion of the 7 Sundays and Wednesdays prior to St. Joseph’s Feast Day. I was off this year, I have to do my 7th Sunday on the upcoming Sunday. I also have been stepping up my prayers to St. Patrick today (he’s my Confirmation Namesake) and for the Holy Father.

  27. Frustrated. Oh so frustrated. If you think about why we do what we do for Lenten observance, then there could never be enough that we could do. “I’ll give up this,” “I’ll give up that” all seems so shallow. Need to die to self, now that’s the rub. But “my” very best is at best anthropocentric, in all likelihood narcissistic, and at worst mockery of what is Love. I think I’ll go read Lamentations to cheer up…. :)

  28. bookworm says:

    Not doing well at all. Every attempt to fast from food, the internet, or anything else has ended in an all-out binge. My husband is more resistant than ever to anything I say about religion. He doesn’t even want to be reminded about Friday abstinence, and acts as if it’s a huge inconvienience. Although I still love to read about and talk about religion (or more precisely, blog about religion, since I have no one I can talk to in person about it) I have very little desire to pray and cannot concentrate when I do. Basically I’m a total failure at this penance and conversion thing. Sometimes I’m not even sure I have any business being at Mass on Sunday and wonder what the heck I’m doing it for since it’s not making me any better.

    Planning on going to confession this weekend, but I probably won’t be able to say what I really want to as I don’t want to take up the priest’s time. I still would like to do a general confession but I keep forgetting to call the priest, or chickening out on doing so.

  29. Nora says:

    My Lent has been interesting. We went back to a Lenten practice that we had done the last time that all the kids in the house were teens. I was thinking earlier this week that it wasn’t enough somehow, but today I realized just exactly how much I was hating it and looking forward to the end. I think therefore it is perfect, not so burdensome that we annoy everyone around us with our holiness, but sufficient to make Easter a consummation devoutly to be desired.

  30. The older I get, the less I see Lent as a time when I win at extreme spiritual athletics and stomp sin under my feet. (Though sometimes I do.)

    It’s more like a time that shows me clearly the problems I have, and my own weakness and dependence on God. The more I rely on myself, the more I fail. The more I do the little I can and turn the rest to God, the better it works out. It’s very judo-ish, or St. Paul-ish.

    Bookworm, none of us deserve Mass and all of us need to be there. That’s why Jesus and the Church marches us there at Sunday obligation gunpoint. :) Go to Confession whenever you can, as soon as you can. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

  31. Nan says:

    capchoirgirl, thanks for that bit about St. Teresa.

    While I’m not doing anything special for Lent per se, Lent and Advent are always a difficult time as my anti-Catholic mom becomes more difficult to deal with at the beginning of each and is downright intolerable by Christmas and Easter. Combine that with some difficult issues unrelated to religion and I’ve got more than I can deal with right now though some of the issues have resolved themselves and others will be taken care of soon enough. Soon enough for God anyway.

  32. Titus says:

    You left off an option, father: I made a plan, have stuck to it, but find now that it was a lame and insufficiently rigorous one.

  33. TMA says:

    We’ve done well so far with our resolutions, especially with daily mass attendance, but something still seems to be lacking. If we are becoming technical in our resolutions, I think we’re missing the point (my daughter says, “Mom, I gave up candy, not cookies or cake.”) So with Passiontide starting Sunday, it’s a good time for a new level of austerity, TBA.

  34. kab63 says:

    Bookworm, God bless you. Sharing the faith with another live human being is very soul-refreshing and I pray the Lord puts someone in your path. This whole Lent I’ve felt that I should volunteer at the hospital, yet I’ve not even printed out the volunteer application. I have some reasons, and some excuses, for not moving forward. I know that some people find it easy to leave their house and interact with strangers, but I’m not one of those people. Part of the challenge of this Lent has been to discern what the Lord wants me to do. All my ideas so far have been wrong! (Which is one of the reasons for not following through on the hospital plan.) When all else fails I say a rosary, and try to remember to count all my blessings, and some days that’s the best I can do. As a priest once said to me, “Even Jesus fell three times.” This reminds me that some days will be only about getting spiritually back on my feet, which is accomplishment enough.

  35. Antony says:

    Reading these comments, I am reminded about a comment by a certain Priest whose sermons can be found on audiosancto.com. I paraphrase: “The best Lenten penances are the ones that you can keep. Talk to your confessor about them before you take them on.” There are several sermons available there about lent. I can’t recommend them enough.

  36. Scott W. says:

    Heh. Needed an option for, “Where is the magesterial support for the concept of making a plan for Lent?” :)

  37. irishgirl says:

    I’ve been stuck at home during Lent due to motor vehicle ‘issues’. The only time I’ve gone to Mass is on Sunday, when the organist from the TLM chapel picks me up. I’ve been taking cab rides to the library and to B&N so I can get out of the house and not go stir-crazy. I want to go to Adoration, but that means I’d have to ‘bum’ a ride from someone. I’ll wait until after Easter, which is when I’ll be back on the road….I hope….

    The only thing I’ve been faithful to is the daily Rosary, which I do anyway, Lent or no. When I pray it by myself, I do the Sorrowful Mysteries all through Lent. The only days in Lent I don’t pray the Sorrowful Mysteries are St. Patrick’s Day [offer each decade in honor of Our Lady of Knock and favorite Irish Saints], St. Joseph’s Day and Annunciation Day, when I pray the Joyful Mysteries.

    I’ve tried not to eat between meals, but I failed and eaten like a pig.

    I always seem to ‘start out well and end badly’, to quote St. Teresa, when it comes to Lent. Sigh.

  38. Aaron says:

    My plan was much too vague, and life has been unusually busy and changing this year, so the plan has kind of fallen apart. I’ve already caught myself thinking, “Next Lent I’m really gonna buckle down and do it right…”

    On the positive side, several people I know have been going through medical or relationship problems (that’s not the positive part), and I’ve been praying more often and more meaningfully than before. That wasn’t part of my plan, but it probably should have been.

  39. Desertfalcon says:

    I’ve been a total failure at it this year. I’m ashamed. I’ve been really good about attending Mass and confession, Stations and other prayer, but I seldom miss Mass and go to confession every couple of weeks or once a month, anyway. Why can’t I give up even one little creature comfort or sacrifice one thing?

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