Lent is a time of spiritual growth and spiritual challenges. Throughout this season we are called to pray, fast, and give alms. While many people give up things throughout the season of Lent, other people assume additional spiritual practices like attending the Stations of the Cross or volunteering. One of my seminary classmates loved to smoke his cigarettes but each Lent he would give up smoking. For the rest of us, it seemed like we carried his penance. Sometimes I prayed that he would break his Lenten resolution because he was grouchy and unbearable. When Easter arrived, my classmate would stand outside smoking a carton of cigarettes. Lent is a time for us to intentionally do what we should be doing all the time. At the same time, it is an opportunity for us to evaluate who we are and where we hope to be. It is a time for God’s grace to transform our weakness so that we can be temples of the Holy Spirit. May these forty days help us make lasting changes we can be proud of. May it also be a time for us to receive the mercy and forgiveness of God, especially present in the sacrament of reconciliation.