Fortunately, the season of Lent is countercultural in all the right ways. By admitting that we have sinned through our own fault, we consciously abandon the “devil made me do it” excuse that has been a favorite of victim-class thinking since Adam and Eve. By repenting before God, we acknowledge that He exists outside of how we feel about things.
Lent reminds us that there is no future in trying to drive a wedge between “reality-based” policy and “faith-based” policy, because God, the subject of faith, is also the ground of all reality.
A lay Catholic theologian named Mark Price recently showed me another way to affirm this truth. Price drew from John’s story of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, reminding his audience that the woman had been ostracized by and from her neighbors. After encountering Jesus, however, she left her jar at the well to seek out the very people whom she had been avoiding. The same thing happened to Peter, who abandoned his fishing, and to the Magi, who returned to their country by a different route.
See where this is going? Of course you do: Jesus is so real that meeting Him always forces us to change both our plans and ourselves. When the imperfect meets the perfect, one yields because the other cannot.