Yesterday's responsorial psalms from daily mass readings...
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
That last verse in particular hit me. I can be a real wimp in the self control department. Lent is always a struggle, and frequently (ok, always) a disappointment as far as keeping my promises. Giving things up is hard. Giving up anything. Shoot, I'd be the one to start smoking just by giving up cigarettes for Lent. I'm drawn into to temptation...like a sucker!
Somehow though, this verse reassures me. Perhaps God is a little less interested in how many days I go without Facebook, or how bad coffee tastes without creamer. Perhaps those little trials, even if a few days of giving up on this, lead to a couple days of sacrificing that. Maybe it's not about the specifics, rather it's about our intention, our desire to find little ways everyday to improve our relationship with Him. It's about the change that happens in our heart as a result of those sacrifices...recognizing that when we sacrifice something, anything, for any length of time, we're making more room in there for him.
A friend told me once that "each of us has a God-shaped hole in our heart, that can only be filled by Him." Maybe then, Lent is about the process by which we stop trying to stuff that God-hole with other crap, and clear the way for only Him.