Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Ashes have worn off, can’t remember where my sackcloth got to, and I’m now in that phase of Lent where even ordinary-time decent behavior seems to have scooted off and left Wretched Sinner to reign.
Lent will do this to you. There’s nothing like trying to be a better person to make it clear how much worse things are than you’d been lulled into believing.
I am fortunate because, by complete accident of state-of-life and no smart planning ahead on my part, I picked an intermittent personal penance. You know the type — get to Adoration once a week, or say a Chaplet on Fridays, or some extra odd or end that you couldn’t do every day if you wanted to, because your life is like that, but which you could manage once a week or on certain days.
Serendipitous help: When that day of the week comes around, you’ve got a built-in ‘reset’ button. If you’ve fallen into Apathetic Christian Mode, the ridiculousness of performing some superlative act when you can’t even hold together normal Christian life will, perhaps, slap a little remorse and repentance into you.
Lenten Implosion Syndrome is not a bug, it’s a feature. Lent prepares us for Easter, and Easter is not the day when we saved ourselves.
Photo by Diego Delso, of course. Guessed that as soon as I saw it on Image of the Day. [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Click through and scroll down for the brief but enlightening description + implicit exhortation.