Thursday, March 10, 2011
Lent from the Heart
Lent’s sacrifices, as he explained year after year, are supposed to take us away from those bad habits we have allowed into our lives. They should, by the end of Lent, have become things of the past. And so, the sacrifice should become a regular practice for the rest of your life. So giving up chocolate, Facebook, sweets and things of that sort, while forcing us to restrain ourselves for a bit, don’t really habit train us. Come Easter Sunday, there is a mound of chocolate sitting at the table ready for consumption. Facebook has so many updates and new posts that the next three days are spent in seclusion catching up. And all the weight that was lost in the self-denial of deserts for 40 days (more if you still abstain on Sundays) finds its way back in a week’s time. We are called to challenge ourselves to lead better lives and be better examples of Christ’s love for us. In giving up detrimental behaviors, unhealthy foods or adding to our life of prayer, donating more of our time to charities, paying more attention to the needs of others over our own needs, we chisel away at those imperfections that keep us from full Communion with Christ. If we then continue these practices for the rest of our lives, every Lent we get the opportunity to chisel away at something else. Imagine how many great changes we can make within ourselves and in our parish or community over a life span!
This Lent, I am making sure I give up some of those really bad habits that have found their way into very prominent places in my life. I am also guiding my children to do the same. Using our religion portion of our homeschool day we are really diving into what it means to fast, pray and give alms. Taking this time to train ourselves to do better and be better for the greater glory of God provides us extra mental strength for the battle. You see, it is Lent, we are expected to give something up and keep giving it up for the entire season. So the external pressure to commit and see the sacrifice through is more present at this time of the year than any other. What is more, to do it with a higher purpose, not just for our own sake but for obedience to the Church and for the salvation of souls, well, that is just a great gift our Faith affords us.
From our family to yours, have a deep prayerful and selfless Lenten Season. May your journey with Christ bring you closer to Him and your loved ones. We pray for many graces to fall upon you over the next 40 days.