A seeker looking for spiritual direction took up tutelage under the abbot of nearby abbey. The abbot said, “I will take you on provided you agree to follow my instructions to the letter without argument.”
“Agreed,” the seeker replied. “What do I do first?”
“Go and stand in the middle of the courtyard and hold up your arms and look up to heaven until I tell to stop.”
Perplexed but obedient, the seeker walked to the center of the courtyard and assumed the position the abbot had described. Soon the wind picked up and vicious storm rolled in. The seeker expected to be called in by the abbot. But no call came. The wind screamed and the rain soaked the seeker to the skin. As the minutes rolled by the seeker grew angrier and angrier.
After an hour had passed the abbot called the seeker in. Standing in the doorway, the beleaguered seeker cried out, “What was that all about!”
The abbot calmly replied, “How do you feel?”
“Like a damn fool,” the seeker exploded.
“Okay,” the abbot said. “I think you’ve learned enough for today.”
If we can enter Lent with the same self-realization, we will have started Lent well.