A thought I read on Jean's blog Saturday has given me pause. Instead of paraphrasing, I'll just re-post it here. In part, says Jean:
One of the two or three things I can remember from a lifetime of sermon-listening is the suggestion that the cheerful acceptance of the penances life imposes on one can be more meritorious than laboriously carrying out the ones one has thought up for oneself. (I got home from church that day and found that the Aga had gone out, which sort of underlined the message.)Isn't that brilliant? To cheerfully accept your burden, or if not cheerfully, at least one can just pick up that cross and get on with your living. The Scripture reading at church yesterday was to pick up the cross and follow Jesus. To emphasize that point, there was a wooden cross at the altar; it was lying on it side, hauntingly taunting communicants at the rail with its message of picking up one's burden. Which brings me back to what Jean wrote about laboriously carrying out the self imposed burdens of consequence versus just the acceptance and picking up of life imposed burdens, perhaps the more meritorious act.
It comes down to picking up penances and keeping to the higher ground: Lent.