Today I find myself thinking about being in the "long middle" of things. Right now the Church throughout the world is in the long middle of Lent, we're almost exactly halfway between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
And how is Lent going? How is my penitence? My contrition? My self-examination? Frankly, not as impressive as I hoped it would be at the beginning of this season of penitence, contrition, and self-examination. Somehow, somewhere along the way I got distracted by the fact that the rest of the world, and the demands of vocation continue on as though Lent were not. I find it difficult to focus on slowing myself and my thoughts down in the midst of the bustle of life-- even during Lent-- in order to reflect and meditate on the real state of affairs in my sin-laden heart, and to see which part of me the Lord is working on for my sanctification.
So there's another thing to repent of: imperfect penitence.
In this long middle of Lent, I also find myself thinking about the long middle of Lent in the life of Christ. The long middle of Jesus' 40 days of wilderness fasting; the long middle of Satan's temptations; the long middle of that night when he was seized and shuffled from one part of the Holy City to another, from one kangaroo court to another; the long middle of the Via Dolorosa; the long middle of those agonizing crucified hours. And, for the disciples, the long middle of those days in the tomb when all was silent and all hope seemed lost.
And now for the Bride of Christ, the long middle of life as we continue to await His reappearing and long for the wedding banquet to begin.
Perhaps the Lord is teaching me patience (one virtue that I am particularly lacking), teaching me to wait. The Lord is indeed not slow in keeping his promise, and perhaps He is teaching me to wait on Him as He takes His time in teaching me penitence and contrition and self-examination. And as He sanctifies me while I wait in the long middle for Him.
May God grant it.