Beside the Holm Oak Tree

Knowing What You Gave up for Lent is Right

Lent is my favorite part of the Liturgical Year.  That may sound strange to some people.  What about Christmas or Easter?  I love those Holy Days too as Christmas and Easter are days when we celebrate our faith. We are thankful for God who choose to be  born and live among us and then die to redeem us. But Lent is a time where we can really grow in our faith. Lent provides the graces to discipline ourselves like no other time of the year. The graces of Lent allow us to persevere in our sacrificial practices that seem too difficult during the other times of the year.

When trying to decide on what I will sacrifice each year, many things pop up in my mind and are quickly dismissed.  Giving up desserts, favorite snacks, etc. seem obvious, but it is also something that is pretty much standard for everyone.  We should probalby give those things up as a matter of course and then pick somehting else that will really impact our lives.  What are you doing that takes up a large part of your day?  Are you on Facebook, catching up on your friends’ lives?  Are you spending endless hours watching news, worrying about the state of our country?  Do you spend time on the Internet searching useless things or falling to clickbait?  Are you binge watchiing programs on streaming services? 

There is where you will find your sacrifice.  Give up something that is consuming you and you will be free to seek Christ in a lot of other ways. If you haven’t already started a new course for Lent, you can find a book, preferably a book you can actually pick up, not an e-book.  There are hundreds of books on the spiritual life, the saints and the faith. Take your time reading it, pondering what it is saying to you. Many classics can found in your local library or bookstore. Take the time you would have spent online to relax and take in the words written for you. Read a few lines of scripture everyday.  Practice Lectio Divina where you read scripture slowly and then re-read it putting yourself in the moment.  What is God saying to you? How is He asking you to change?  Spend some time in adoration.  You don’t have to say anything.  I was once told, you never learn anything when you are talking.  That is so true.  You only learn when you are listening, so just go and listen.  God will speak to you in the silence.

I have found that I am usually pulled to sacrifice something I really don’t want to give up.  I hestiate, make excuses and try to think of other things but it keeps coming back to me that I need to sacrifice the one thing I don’t want to give up.  The times I have followed that inspirtation, surely from the Holy Spirit, I have had the most powerful Lent.  God provides the grace to sacrifice what we don’t really need and to move toward Him.  He desires our souls more than anything and will alway provide all the means we need for our salvation. You know you have chosen the right sacrifice when you find yourself spending more time comtemplating God, prioritizing your faith, your family and all those who have been put into your life. You look for what really matters in your life and shed those things that are keeping you from it. You will receive the blessings and graces in abundance for what you need to do. 

God never fails.  He cannot be out done in generosity.  He never fails to surprise us with much greater blessings than we could ever imagine. 

 

Proverbs 3: 4-5 Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence.  In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps.

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