No matter how many times I have walked the Great Lenten Journey, the week before Holy Week is always a bit of a boost for me. At this point, there is no stopping my journey. There have been some grueling moments in the past 36 days, but Great Lent will be over in four days, and I’m already looking ahead to the next race. At least I won’t have to wait long.
The moment Great Lent ends this coming Friday, our attention will turn to a new season. Before our next race, however, we must first finish this one. As with any race, if we allow our mind to presume victory, we are likely to experience defeat. When it comes to our spiritual victory, it won’t be calculated in whether we fasted better (or more strictly) than others, or by how many prostrations we did each day. Unlike a secular race, during Great Lent we are only racing against ourselves.
Our victory during Great Lent will be calculated on whether we made the effort, even if we were distracted along the way. Our victory will be in our attempt to make it further than we did last year. In a sense, our victory will be in defeat, of our passions. If we have been able to conquer, if even for a moment, one of our passions during our Great Lenten Journey, it has all been worth the struggle. When it comes to our spiritual battles, victory is found in the small moments when we conquer temptation.
There are still a few hurdles before the end of the race, but keep your head in the game this week, and you will finish your Great Lenten Journey ahead of last year’s personal record, and that will be a victory. Whatever you do, don’t stop now. Don’t lose your focus. Embrace the last few days with the same fervor as the first few days. It is the effort that matters most this week.