I think one of the things I realize (now that I'm Catholic) is that I have a better view of myself. The view isn't always from a flattering angle, either.
But Lent (and an array of Catholic practices) makes me realize that I am not as wonderful as I once thought.
And yet, I am far more holy than I once was.
Seems like a paradox, doesn't it?
Peter had been with Our Lord for two years. He loved Jesus. Without a doubt, he would have followed Our Lord to the ends of the Earth.
But in a moment of panic, He forgets all of that. His confidence in his own love for Jesus doesn't keep him from denying Christ. In fact, Peter denies the Lord he loves three times.
Face-to-face with one's own weakness - that is Lent. That is this now-ness. It is a spiritual place where I know how much I love Our Lord. Oh, so very much! And yet, I see my weakness. My confidence in my love for Jesus isn't enough. It is dangerous to be too sure of one's self. It is risky to think I will never compromise my love for Christ in exchange for a momentary escape. If Peter did it, I shouldn't be too sure of myself.
"I tell you, I do not know Him!"
I say Peter's words when I fail. When I sin. When I do not do the good I wish to do, but do the evil I do not want. (See St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 7:15-19)
A season for looking deeply into the tomb of one's own weaknesses - and realizing how much I need Jesus to help me remain faithful.
It is possible to abandon the journey or to get lost along the way. It is possible to lose out on the crown of glory. Beginning a journey doesn't mean one will definitely complete the journey well.
But, one cannot end it without beginning it. And so, we begin, praying that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. (See St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians 1:6)
Eyes on Christ. My confidence is in Christ's mercy and grace.
Not on my own "mountain of love" that will surely keep me from denying...
For I know how very weak I am. Even so, let us run the race - with hope.
Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. -A Letter from St. Paul to the Church at Corinth (I Cor. 9:25-27)