It’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t in this desert. Something about these 40 days always makes it seem more like 40 weeks. But now we've reached the point in our Lenten journey when we're finally able to catch a glimpse of the Easter light at the end of the tunnel. So how do we remain faithful to our Lenten commitments in these last days before Holy Week? What's the point of persevering if it feels like we’ve spent more time failing then succeeding? Why should we even bother? It's almost over, right?
We NEED to make the most of the time we have. We all fail, but the key is to remember why we’re doing this; why we’re called to pray, fast, and give alms. During these last couple weeks of Lent, instead of thinking only of your own struggles, contemplate Jesus and his lonely journey through the desert. Put yourself in his dusty shoes and stand beside him as he struggles to walk, weak from lack of food. Stay by his side. He knows what it means to face temptation, and he can help you overcome your own daily trials. Remember the reason why you started this journey in the first place.
The Catechism tells us, “By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.” (CCC 540)
That is the purpose: To unite ourselves to Jesus as he goes into the desert. If we want to join him in the Resurrection, then we have to be willing to journey with him through Lent. All of it. And if we do it right, then it shouldn't end there. If our desire is to draw closer to the suffering heart of Christ, then that isn't something that ends on Easter Sunday. Living out our Lent with purpose means being formed in a way that will carry on long after these 40 days are over.
So here are 21 quotes to help inspire you to continue to pray, fast, and persevere during these last days of Lent and beyond. If you gave up after a week, then this is a good time to start again, or even try something new. Don’t give up, and walk with Jesus. I’m sure he’d appreciate your company. It's never too late to try again.
“Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.”
St. Francis de Sales
“The Lord measures out perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner in which we perform them.”
– St. John of the Cross
“You don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!’ you can be sure you’ve already begun.”
-Saint Josemaría Escrivá
“Lent is a time of going very deeply into ourselves… What is it that stands between us and God? Between us and our brothers and sisters? Between us and life, the life of the Spirit? Whatever it is, let us relentlessly tear it out, without a moment’s hesitation.”
“Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.”
-Ven. Fulton Sheen
"Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt."
“There are ways of being crucified that do not involve rough wood or heavy nails, but a love beyond our capacity to love, which means a love that has been given to us by God…”
"And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me"
- Luke 9:23.
“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”
-St. Rose of Lima
"As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.”
– Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
"Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?"
-Ven. Fulton Sheen
“Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could.”
-St. Gregory Nazianzen
"Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God."
-Thomas a Kempis
“The ultimate goal of fasting is to help each one of us to make a complete gift of self to God."
–Pope Benedict XVI
"…Although we may be able to do but little, the enemy nevertheless stands more in awe of those whom he knows can fast."
–St. Francis de Sales
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
"(Lent) is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism."
-Pope Benedict XVI
“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas
"Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring."
– St. Catherine of Siena
“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.”
-St. Francis de Sales
“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”
We hope you are feeling inspired to embrace the desert with Jesus. For your kids, Lent is an amazing time for them to encounter Christ. To help you create an environment of encounter for your kids here, are 5 easy and affordable activities that you can use to teach valuable faith lessons during this Lenten season.
Now I'd love to hear your comments. What helps you persevere during the last weeks of Lent?
Are there any quotes that have inspired YOU in the past?