Today marks the (near) liturgical halfway point of Lent, depending on whether you calculate Holy Week as “part” of Lent or as its own entity. This is the time to reflect on the weeks of Lent that have passed and to renew our commitments to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that we made when this season began. Just like when halftime comes in a sporting event and the teams tweak their game plans for the second half, so should we. And, like the fans at a sporting event at halftime, we too should “drink deeply”–though perhaps in a different way:
In the Name of Jesus Christ crucified and of sweet Mary:
Dearest and sweetest father in Christ sweet Jesus: I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write to you in His precious Blood: with desire to see you a true combatant against the wiles and vexations of the devil, and the malice and persecution of men, and against your own fleshly self-love, which is an enemy that, unless a man drives it away by virtue and holy hate, prevents him from ever being strong in the other battles which we encounter every day. For self-love weakens us, and therefore it is imperative that we drive it away with the strength of virtue, which we shall gain in the unspeakable love that God has shown us, through the Blood of His only-begotten
Son. This love, drawn from the divine love, gives us light and life; light, to know the truth when necessary to our salvation and to win great perfection, and to endure with true patience and fortitude and constancy until death–for by such fortitude, won from the light that makes us know the truth, we win the life of divine grace. Drink deep, then, in the Blood of the Spotless Lamb, and be a faithful servant, not faithless, to your Creator. And fear not, nor turn back, for any battle or gloom that may come upon you, but persevere in faith till death; for well you know that perseverance will give you the fruit of your labours.
(St. Catherine of Siena to her spiritual director, St. Raymond of Capua)
Halfway through Lent–how’s it going?