Lent Day 1: ‘I Recognize How Much I Need God’s Grace’


Editor’s note: We’re excited to launch “Lenten Reflections,” a 40-day series of original essays on Lent and single life written by CatholicMatch members. Look for a new reflection here every day until the end of Lent. And a hearty thanks to everyone who submitted a reflection! We enjoyed them all and wish we could publish more than 40!

By Richard-632838

Lent has begun! Soon I’ll be hearing tales of what my Catholic friends and acquaintances have given up. This practice can become a cliché, devoid of any real meaning if not done without careful consideration.

As part of my Lenten practice, I do give something up, but it must be something I’ll be longing for with every part of me. When I have chosen the right sacrifice, these 40 days of Lent can seem like an eternity.

Perhaps that’s why the single life can often feel like Lent: I feel that something is missing, something I truly desire and yearn for. I find myself waiting and hoping for a long period of time to come to an end.

While singleness is partly choice, it is also part circumstance, not having been able to find the right person.

Unlike my Lenten sacrifice, which can easily be broken, the single life is not so easy to break if I want to experience what I am really looking for. The 40 days of Lent, like life, cannot be rushed if we are to truly appreciate and rejoice in a glorious Easter.

I am reminded of the antiphon for mid-afternoon prayer during Lent in the Liturgy of the Hours:

“Armed with God’s justice and power, let us prove ourselves through patient endurance.”

This is where my Lenten sacrifice and single life intertwine. For both, I recognize how much I need God’s grace – the former to give me the strength to patiently endure in the face of temptation, the latter to patiently endure until the right time and person come along.

Because the single life is indefinite, perhaps it’s time to look to Lent as a way to let God strengthen us in patient endurance.

Reflection question: How can you exercise patient endurance today?



  1. Careese-449851 March 14, 2011 Reply

    Letting God “strengthen us in patient endurance” is a great way to see the Lenten season as a one of His gifts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It has given me something to consider.

  2. Geysha-696950 March 12, 2011 Reply

    At my working place. I take care of a Alzheimer patient lady; so I need lots of patience and love. 🙂

  3. Tammy-492301 March 11, 2011 Reply

    This is so lovely….

  4. David-663729 March 10, 2011 Reply

    Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces Hope. Romans5:3-4. Peace to all this Lenten Season

  5. Krystal-669973 March 10, 2011 Reply

    Richard, what a beautiful analogy of Lent to the single life. YES! This deep, intense yearning is what every Lent should feel like, yearning for God. I think we fail to see this yearning for a partner as a gift, that if accepted with the correct attitude or patience and prayer, can bring us closer to God. Thank you so much for writing your reflection and sharing with all of us!

  6. Abbey-104305 March 10, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for sharing. You wrote what is in my heart.

  7. Dawn-58330 March 10, 2011 Reply

    Good start to our journey, Richard. Thank you for sharing. I especially appreciate the reminder to the longing quality of Lent which is so much like the longing with which single life can be dominated. In order for something to be a sacrifice we must feel it, and to feel it with every fiber of our being is to offer it with love.

  8. Frances-26250 March 10, 2011 Reply

    Encouraging, Richard. Thanks.

    But it makes me ask: what if single life is not your choice or circumstance but God’s vocation for you? Could you find peace in that?

  9. Carolaine-631526 March 9, 2011 Reply

    Wonderfully written, beautiful thoughts…
    Blessings to you…

  10. Jeanne-648636 March 9, 2011 Reply

    Nicely done…thought provoking…upbeat. Look forward to reading more! Jeanne

  11. Salvador-551798 March 9, 2011 Reply


    “Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris.”

    “Remember man, thou art dust and dust thou shalt return.”

    These words should be the reverberations sent to every Catholic soul during this time of Lent. We must remember that the main focus in our lives should be the salvation of our soul and the souls of others. This also means that we should exercise perseverance to diligently study our Faith and ask what Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wants of us through Holy Mother Church.

    Lent should not be about how we could exercise patient endurance but rather how we should follow obedience to what Holy Mother Church says. Fasting and abstinence are some of the keys to living out the true paths to conversion and renewal in our Faith. In Mark 10: 17-23, A rich young man visits Jesus kneeling with the desire to know what he needs in order to be saved. Jesus gives him instruction in obeying his commandments. He mentions that he has done all of this. Jesus then asks him to give to the poor all of his possessions. The rich young man becomes disheartened because he has many possessions. We must learn to make many sacrifices if we wish to be saved and win eternal life.

    It is not so much the matter of giving up certain things. But rather we give up our old habits, our old ways of life that was sinful. We fast so that we can make this conversion. We abstain from eating meat throughout the whole year on Fridays because it is out of respect for Christ’s death on the Cross. We too must live the sacrifice on the Cross and this is where we would come to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (bows my head).

    Let us reflect and take into serious consideration of how we live our lives as Catholics. Because we were baptized and confirmed as Catholics, we should consider what our Lord asks of us and how we should obey him. What is at stake is the salvation of our soul – The Grandeur of our Destiny as mortal beings. Good recommendations that I give to fellow Catholics on what I will be doing during the season of Lent – Frequent attendance at Holy Mass, Frequent visits the Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in expiation for my past sins, Frequent the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, Fasting and partial abstinence during the week (norms of the Missale Romanum 1962), Spiritual Reading – “Think Well On It” – Considerations on the Great Truths of the Catholic Religion by Bishop Richard Challoner, The Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius of Loyola, and to re-read the Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis, Scriptural passages on the Psalms through the Douay-Rheims bible, as well as daily recitation of the Holy Rosary. This is a suggestion for all faithful Catholics to follow. This is what I will commit myself to doing for the sake of conversion in my life. We are all sinners and we must expiate for our sins. St. Anthony Marie Claret, who’s main concern was the salvation of souls and the conversion of sinners said it plainly that it is through mortification that we find ourselves together with Christ. Mortification of the Body will serve as a good way to expiate for our sins and giving justice for having offend God the Father.

    I shall close this reflection with the words of St. Leonard of Port Maurice:

    “Woe to you who command others! If so many are damned by your fault, what will happen to you? If few out of those who are first in the Church of God are saved, what will happen to you? Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, “Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell.” – Sermon by St. Leonard of Port Maurice – “The Little Number of Those Who are Saved.”

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