Editor’s note: We’re excited to launch “Lenten Reflections,” a 40-day series of original essays on Lent and single life written by CatholicMatch members. Look for a new reflection here every day until the end of Lent. And a hearty thanks to everyone who submitted a reflection! We enjoyed them all and wish we could publish more than 40!
Lent has begun! Soon I’ll be hearing tales of what my Catholic friends and acquaintances have given up. This practice can become a cliché, devoid of any real meaning if not done without careful consideration.
As part of my Lenten practice, I do give something up, but it must be something I’ll be longing for with every part of me. When I have chosen the right sacrifice, these 40 days of Lent can seem like an eternity.
Perhaps that’s why the single life can often feel like Lent: I feel that something is missing, something I truly desire and yearn for. I find myself waiting and hoping for a long period of time to come to an end.
While singleness is partly choice, it is also part circumstance, not having been able to find the right person.
Unlike my Lenten sacrifice, which can easily be broken, the single life is not so easy to break if I want to experience what I am really looking for. The 40 days of Lent, like life, cannot be rushed if we are to truly appreciate and rejoice in a glorious Easter.
I am reminded of the antiphon for mid-afternoon prayer during Lent in the Liturgy of the Hours:
“Armed with God’s justice and power, let us prove ourselves through patient endurance.”
This is where my Lenten sacrifice and single life intertwine. For both, I recognize how much I need God’s grace – the former to give me the strength to patiently endure in the face of temptation, the latter to patiently endure until the right time and person come along.
Because the single life is indefinite, perhaps it’s time to look to Lent as a way to let God strengthen us in patient endurance.
Reflection question: How can you exercise patient endurance today?