Lent has started and I’m a week behind already. I’ve got 2 of the 3 Lenten basics covered, but it’s discouraging to be behind before I start.

  1. Prayer – In addition to my regular prayer time I’ve joined a contemplative prayer group at our parish. These twice-a-week online gatherings have been meaningful since they prompt me to go more deeply into the mystery of God’s sacred presence. But, I’m going to miss at least 6 of the 13 sessions because of other commitments.
  2. Fasting – I usually give up sweets and fast from some regular meals during Lent. I think of this as being in solidarity with those who don’t have enough to eat. It’s not a choice for them. But for me, the main value is that it is a daily reminder to turn my attention to the “Why” of Lent – to connect more intimately with God.
  3. But what about the 3rd biggie – Almsgiving. Sure, I could donate more money to charitable causes. But, I usually understand this Lenten practice as taking actions such as spending my time and effort to serve others. In the past I often gave stuff away (not just money) or tried to be of service to those in need.
    This year I thought I’d wrap it all up in the word PAPER. I have way too much paper cluttering my desk and overflowing to the floor around my desk. This not only makes it difficult to find the right paper amongst my many piles, it clutters my mind and makes me feel behind in my daily life. I’ve pruned paper before, but obviously it needs an upgrade.

So, Ash Wednesday came and went, and I kept figuring I would develop a “paper plan” the next day. My first step was to commit to 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon to devote to paper pruning. I made a simple chart outlining which part of my desk area I would work on each day. Now, it’s a week into Lent and I have my commitment chart but no action.

What is all this teaching me? That I’m not perfect. (In fact, I had buried my chart under other papers for several days and just now found it again. ☹) I’m human and need to forgive myself.

Right now, I will stop writing this blog, post it, and spend my 15 minutes this afternoon, before I get distracted and choose to do something else.
I wonder what other lessons the Spirit will teach me this Lent through paper?

How is it going for you? Do you have some Lenten motivational tricks?