Yesterday I looked at failing in Lenten discipline from one angle, and I purposely chose that one first, as today I am going to look from another angle which gives permission to fail!
Quoting again from Joan Chittister’s commentary on the Rule of Benedict (or here online) she writes:
It is so easy to tell ourselves that we overlooked the needs of others because we were attending to the needs of God. It is so easy to go to church instead of going to a friend whose depression depresses us. It is so easy to want silence rather than the demands of the children. It is so much easier to read a book about religion than it is to listen to a husband talk about his job or a wife talk about her loneliness. It is so much easier to practice the privatised religion of prayers and penances than it is to make fools out of ourselves for the Christian religion of globalism and peace.
Sometimes we need to give the time that we have set aside for God in our way to what God wants us to do with it in his way! The difficulty is telling which is which – not holding to our Lenten discipline because we fancy doing something practical is not the same as feeling called to do something practical, which prevents us holding to our Lenten discipline.