Throughout Europe a Siberian blast is sending us all into a collective shiver. Here in Britain the ‘Beast from the East’ makes our customary preoccupation with the weather a source of much merriment if we’re sitting round a warm fireside, or much misery if waiting cold and numb for a ‘bus or train that is late or never comes. Our attitude is constantly shifting, and it does not take much to turn us from one to the other.
Lent can be a bit like that. There are some mornings when we awake full of fervour and good will, ready to ‘do battle with the dragon black’. At others, we can barely bring ourselves to come out from under the duvet. It is no use exhorting our unenthusiastic selves to ‘stop idling’ or ‘get going’. All that tends to do is to induce feelings of guilt or failure. Instead, we have to trust (which is faith by another name). Lent is not working out quite as we hoped or intended, but provided we don’t put up any deliberate obstacles to grace, it is working out as the Lord intended. Just going on despite our failures and backslidings — what monastics call perseverance — is what counts. We have to make a daily leap of faith, almost without realising what we are doing. It may not be a very large or brave one, but it will be enough to set us on the road to salvation, to Easter joy and bliss. Be encouraged!