Skip to main content

Preparing for your Lenten Marathon.


For Catholics and other Christians, Lent is a sort of New Year. It is a time to examine ones life, compare it to the life of Christ, and work toward bringing the former more into line with the latter. Like New Year, it is filled with resolutions and vows, promises of penance and change. It is a time of death for old habits and a time of rebirth or rejuvenation for the soul.

However, there also lies hidden in Lent a very serious and dangerous trick of the devil. The temptation presented by the Father of Lies is to “overdo” the Lenten season. As strange as it may sound, temperance must be exercised in a heroic manner during Lent in relation to penance and sacrifice.

Like a runner at the beginning of a race, at the beginning of Lent we are full of energy and excitement. Our heads are filled with numerous ideas for penance and sacrifice like sugar plumb fairies dancing in our heads. Without honest recognition that the path we are walking leads us to Calvary we will quickly be exhausted and give up many of the ideas we held on Ash Wednesday. The devil tempts us into taking on more sacrifices and more penances and more practices of piety than we can ever really hope to fulfill. Usually, after a strong start we find that we really need to drop a few of the practices we began so eagerly. It is here that the devil returns to accuse us of being weak, being unworthy of Christ, of not being able to carry such a simple cross as this. This accusation can often turn to self-pity or self-hate resulting in the former marathon penitent giving up everything all together.

Some key points to remember as you begin and make your way through Lent:

Saint Josemaria Escriva once said, “The world admires only the spectacular sacrifice, because it does not realize the value of the sacrifice that is hidden and silent.” When you consider the practices that you take on this Lent consider Who you are doing these things for. All our mortifications must be geared toward becoming more like Christ.

It is the small sacrifices that are often the most difficult. It is easy to give up chocolate for Lent but not as easy to give up another tasty treat like gossip. The small, hidden sacrifices are the most difficult because they work on the things most ingrained into our being. The world certainly will not admire the small, hidden sacrifice of giving up gossip but the value of that sacrifice, in the eyes of God, is far greater than foregoing soda or something of that nature.

When “giving up” something for Lent be sure to replace that something. Nature abhors a vacuum and that missing space will quickly be filled with something else. It is up to you to make sure that that sacrifice is filled in with something good. If it is time that is sacrificed, like not watching TV, surfing the Internet, etc., then fill that time with prayer or reading. Sin is often crowded out of our lives by good things. We replace vices with virtues.

Finally, on this walk toward Calvary, you and I, like Jesus, will most likely fall. When we do fall, the devil will rush to our side and begin to whisper in our ear. Remember that discouragement, self-hate, and the like are from Satan and never from God. God is our biggest fan and biggest supporter. He wants us to follow Him and at the same time He wants to be our “Simon of Cyrene” and help us carry the cross. If you fall and fail in your Lenten practices seek to imitate Jesus and get back up and carry on. The struggle ends on Calvary and the reward will come on Easter Sunday.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

2016 Rosary-A-Day Giveaway

That's right!  For the month of October we will be giving away one of our handcrafted cord knot rosaries each day during the month of October, the month of the Rosary.

For your chance to win, simply send an email to (webmaster@realliferosary.com) with the words "Rosary-A-Day" in the subject line.  Each day we'll randomly pick a name to win a free "surprise me" (our choice of colors) rosary.  We'll also be giving away some copies of Rosary Meditations for Real Life throughout the month from those names submitted.  Make sure to not be selfish, share the love and let others know!  Good luck!

One winner per household.  Please enter only once, you will receive an email confirming your entry.  Multiple entries from one email address will be deleted. Any order through our site will qualify you for a second entry. Your email will stay in until you win or until the end of the month.  US residents only please unless you are willing to pay the $15 shipping.  Than…

Catherine's Mobile Stander

I've once again learned to not underestimate this girl.  At school she has been receiving therapy using this stander to help her gain strength and stamina.  We brought it home for the summer and I'm simply blown away.

I'm amazed at how proficient she is at maneuvering such a device.  She is able to roll around corners, through doorways, over carpet and more.  Catherine makes it look easy and she does so with the hand-eye coordination of a professional gamer.



However, what really amazes me is her disposition when she is in this contraption.  There are tons of books and videos addressing the power of posture, the power of physical positioning and it's influence on the mental position and mental health.  
These short (35 minute) sessions that Catherine experiences twice per day confirms the theories.  Each time she is placed in the stander her demeanor changes.  She's happy, smiles more (if that's possible) and is more outgoing.  She wheels around the house greet…

Take Up Your Cross

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

In the First Reading, Moses challenges the people, and us, to "choose life". He says, "choose life, that you and your descendants may live." This seems pretty practical. If we choose life, we and our descendants will go on. If not, well...

However, I think we need to look deeper. In fact, I would encourage you to insert a word here in the scriptures, if only mentally - "choose eternal life." For most of us, choosing life is not much of a choice in the arena of our daily lives. Most of us do not rise in the morning with the thought of I'm going to choose to live this day racing through our brains. Yet choosing eternal life must be an everyday, and in fact every moment, choice. It is an effort to make those choices day after day and minute after minute. In some degree, every choice we make throughout our day is a choice for either eternal life or eternal death - therefore choose life!

So how then do we "choo…