More and more I've become convinced of the calling to a cloistered life: I am, without a doubt, a bad influence.
Lent again and with it being so early, it feels like I just got over the Advent fast and here we go again. Of course it's actually a kind of blessing in that twisted way of the Christian walk - I'm not exactly rolling in the lucre at present and Lent is a nice opportunity to 'offer it up' as it were, as opposed to worrying about my failures.
This year is slightly different because... one of my friends is also fasting for Lent! No, unbelievable as it may sound, this wasn't a deliberate intention on my part, it just happened. And even though I worry (was it my fault? Should she be doing something so extreme? etc. etc. Ironic really because now I know how my mum feels about me doing it) the truth is it will be nice to have someone I can at least occasionally break fast with.
But more important than fasting is the study. Recently I've become that awful person who seems to arrive to service just in time for Communion - again, not deliberately - so I might as well take advantage of the season to whip myself into shape. Perhaps start opting for earlier hours at work so I can go to evensong at the Cathedral and maybe midday eucharist if my lunch break is at the right time.
'For with God nothing shall be impossible.'
Essentially, that seems to be Lent 2013. Nothing spectacular really - I was meant to finish every problem in all my undergrad textbooks for Advent 2012 which kind of worked as I did more reading but not many problems. I think I even had dreams about getting back to fluency with my Attic Greek... that definitely didn't work out! - more about keeping up the fight. Whilst our Christian life is essentially us riding on the coattails of God's grace, there are times when you know you've been coasting and not really taking up your cross (thanks be to God, He loves us anyway and gladly helps us along the way). Lent of all times seems a good opportunity to address that.
But as ever there's a lesson to be learned in those quiet times after the initial romance. Repentance seems to come less easy when you've become habitual about sin - the hardening of heart, I suppose. Indeed, if anything reminds one about one's fallen nature, it's the long drawing out of sorrow for one's misdoings. Come now my soul, I want to say, we all know what's going on. There's nothing and nowhere to hide. But hide it does.
'And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'