Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pray. Fast. Give.

Pray.  Fast.  Give.  These are essentially the three things that Catholics are asked to do during the season of Lent.  I know this is regarded as a waste of time and effort by some people, but I believe that this exhortation is for the benefit of the believer.

Prayer connects us to God.  Don't we all crave that, even if we choose lesser gods in our pursuit of our One True Love?  I will go deeper in my prayer, listen more, obey more.  It is time for a fresh restart in this area.

Fasting clears our mind, purifies our heart, and cleanses our soul.  It is not good to be in celebration all the time - endless partying, drinking, and eating fattens us up and makes us neglect our spiritual life, blurs our vision of our final destination, and makes us forget our love for the Lord.  When we give up these attachments that we identify, we create a space in our bodies, minds, and hearts, for more of the Lord.  His Holy Spirit can work more in our open hearts.  

Giving not only blesses the recipient, but the giver as well.  We let go of our excess, what we don't need, and recognize in the process the most valuable things in life.  More often than not, we accumulate more than our pockets can afford and our rooms can hold.  Lent is the time to purge, cleanse, and let go, because we know that we are not alone.  Millions of other believers are doing so.

Surprisingly enough, I looked forward to Lent this year.  I confess that in the past, I had dreaded it, because it was usually a time of purification and testing for me.  But I found myself, early this year, putting aside decisions until Lent, when I would have the proper mindset and disposition to discern.

I even started early.  I had already my points for discernment/ decision-making lined up.  I had already identified what I wanted to stay away or fast from.  I had gone to mass to lift these up earlier this evening.

I could have started my discernment the moment I recognized, about a month ago, that I had reached another crossroads in life, but I wanted to take advantage of the abundant grace of Lent.  This is my 40-day tithe (roughly 10% of 365 days) to God.  This is my private time with Him.  I will journal more, seek the Blessed Sacrament more, consult spiritual advisers more, and hopefully, sin less.

I will let go of bad habits, attachments, and patterns.  It is easier - Jesus inspires me to do so. I know I will falter in this, especially when it comes to my "addictions", but I am going to draw from the strength that Jesus gives.  He endured all those sufferings.  My mundane concerns are going to be bearable, I just know it.

Tomorrow I start my healing process anew.  And I am thankful to be part of the Church in this time of Lenten observance.  With Christ as the head, and my brothers and sisters in the faith as part of the Body, I trudge on into this with open arms and an expectant heart.

Let the observances begin.

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