Regnum Christi

My Worst Lent Ever

My Worst Lent Ever dust and ashes from Lent
My Worst Lent Ever dust and ashes from Lent

Oof, another failed Lent.

This past Lent was a complete disaster. I flip-flopped over what I was going to “give up” for Lent during the days leading up to and including Ash Wednesday, and then, once I’d finally decided, I changed my mind part-way through, chose a new sacrifice, then returned to the original one a couple weeks later. And at the end of the 40 days, I’m not really sure I can honestly say I did any of the sacrifices I zig-zagged between very well at all. When Palm Sunday rolled around, I panicked – “Oh no, it’s Holy Week already?! But I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing for Lent!”), I think I’d kind of given up on the whole thing. Because this Lent was a real struggle, and between complicated family issues, taking on more work than I realistically had hours in the day, and a bout of COVID that took me out and set me back for much longer than I had time for, I felt like I made it through Lent (and just barely) with absolutely nothing to show for it, completely empty-handed, dragging myself to the Easter “finish line” on my hands and knees.


Better luck next year, I guess.

So if I’m judging this past Lent on what I’ve been known to judge my Lents on – how well I completed my Lenten promises, how regularly I said my prayers, how strong my willpower was, how good I was – then this past Lent was officially my worst one ever, and I was a complete failure.


But if I’m judging Lent through the eyes of Divine Mercy, it was my best Lent yet. If Lenten “success” is based on how physically, emotionally, and spiritually weak I can feel, all the while knowing, as St. Paul tells me, that God’s grace is sufficient for me, and that His power is made perfect in that weakness I was experiencing, the I definitely “succeeded.” If the criterion for a successful Lenten prayer life is how well I ticked the boxes of my prayer commitments, then it was a total disaster, but if it’s that I recognized what a disaster I truly am, and continually turned to Him in helplessness and surrender and grasped for the cross, then I guess the prayer box got checked. If Lent is about how strong and good I can be for forty days, then I was absolutely abysmal, but if it’s about seeing what an “abyss of misery” I am (as St. Faustina would say), and knowing, too, that my nothingness and misery (as great as they often feel) are drowned in the whole ocean of Christ’s mercy, then here I am.


“You were counting too much on yourself and too little on Me,” said Jesus to St. Faustina, and He could just as easily be speaking to me, about all those past Lents I “accomplished,” relying strictly on my own willpower and perfectionism, patting myself on the back at the end of it all. But it’s ok. “Let this not sadden you too much,” consoles Jesus, “You are dealing with the God of mercy. I am Mercy itself; offer Me your misery and this very helplessness of yours, and in this way, you will delight in My Heart.”


And so I arrive – miserably, helplessly, abysmally – at the finish line of Easter, not simply empty-handed, with nothing to offer, but with open hands, ready to receive the mercy I so desperately need.

 

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Alex Kucera

Atlanta

Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!