Yesterday I ate lunch when I meant to fast (Ash Wednesday and all), and I had meat on top of it, which I've given up entirely for Lent. This morning meat was part of my breakfast.
Each time I realized what I'd done, I couldn't believe it. I shook my head and said to myself, "Kate, what are you doing?" It's hard not to feel angry and defeated when failure comes so easily despite earnest intentions.
Perhaps there is another way to look at failure despite earnest intention. Lent is not just a time of self-sacrifice, but of being able to sit, still and present, in moments of wrong-doing. When I fail to fulfill my intentions, and I take the time to acknowledge that I've failed, it stings. That sting is my stony perfection being broken by the piercing blade of humility.
During Lent, abiding by one's penance matters. But allowing one's heart to be transformed from a self-important one to a humble, failure-acknowledging one matters even more.