How Do You Measure Lenten Success?

2015_Lenten blog 13 (image)If I’m really, really honest here, there’s a small corner of my heart that’s breathing a sigh of relief that Lent is over and Easter has arrived. All the Rosaries were said! All the prayers were journaled! All the blogs were blogged! Easter is here! Lenten success all around!

After 46 days, it seems like I should have lots to write about, but truth be told, I’ve been struggling what to put in this final 2015 Lenten blog post and grappling with myself if I even had a successful Lent. How is Lenten success even measured? Is it the number of Rosaries said? The pages of prayer written? Regular Mass attendance? Or is it something bigger?

(Hint: It’s totally the last one.)

On paper, my Lenten journey was successful, but in practice, I’m not so sure. While I did technically complete my Lenten resolutions, I can’t help but remember all the hastily said Rosaries, the late-night, halfway intentional prayers, and daydreams during Mass. Lent, as I thoroughly discovered, is more than crossing things off a list, and yet I found myself more intent on putting checks next to completed things than focusing on the meaning behind each checked item.

On Holy Saturday, my mom called, and I shared with her how I was struggling to measure success and struggling to bring these blogs to a close. She reminded me of Pope Francis’ challenge to us nearly 50 days ago when he encouraged us to fast from indifference by shifting the focus we often reserve for ourselves to those we often overlook—God included. My Lenten journey was by no means close to perfect, but it did make some tiny steps to placing more focus on God through Rosaries and daily prayer.

At the end of the conversation, my mom also reminded me of this: A successful Lenten journey doesn’t stop the second Lent ends. Rather than a time to pack Lenten learnings away into storage until next year, the time after Easter is a great period to continue observing these Lenten resolutions.

While I still breathed a little sigh of relief after my last 2015 Lenten Rosary, I feel excited about what direction this journey will take me. And this, I think, might be the measure of Lenten success.