Like the well-intentioned resolutions we make at the beginning of each year, Lenten resolutions can sometimes be abandoned long before Easter—this is especially true of the more interior ones, like those Saint Bernard labels the fasting of the eyes, ears, and tongue. Still, establishing some special Lenten practice (or resolution) is not without spiritual benefit, even when one fails to perfectly carry through with one’s intentions. For, although remaining fully faithful to one’s Lenten commitments is desirable and commendable, failing to do so can be a timely and humbling reminder of one’s inherent weakness and need of God’s sustaining grace. This grace is never imposed upon us and our ascetic Lenten practices can serve as ways of opening our hearts to God’s saving power and thereby expressing our desire to cooperate with sanctifying and liberating grace. Conversely, neglecting to take on any Lenten penance can reflect a lukewarm spirit—or even one that has given up the spiritual quest and thus risks a permanent hardening of the heart. For those fortunate enough to remain faithful to their Lenten resolutions, the same indispensable grace must be acknowledged if ascetic practices are not to degenerate into serving pride and a deluded sense of self-sufficiency. Finally, those blessed souls who through many Lents have been purified and freed of their enslavement to sin, need to nevertheless guard against complacency and thus not neglect to establish their Lenten regimen. As Saint Augustine reminds us, during Lent we restrain our desires even for lawful things, in order not to commit unlawful things. So, whichever category you find yourself in, pray to not squander the graces being freely offered during this holy season. For, now, indeed, is a very acceptable time, now is the day of salvation. In this spirit, may the Lenten practice(s) we choose serve as our statement of intent and express our sincere desire to convert and give ourselves wholeheartedly to Christ.