Moving Through Lent

For those of you who’ve been here before, this is an updated post from three years ago but the link is definitely still relevant, pandemic and life in general notwithstanding. Also, there is one other thing about Lent that’s new for me this year. “It’s not about what you give up it’s about who you become.” Thank you, Matthew Kelley, for summing up so well the essence of this liturgical season.

Wait! Before you get the link I just remembered a second thing that has stuck with me. Fr. Mike Schmitz said, in his homily on the first Sunday of Lent, “The heart of Lent is that we don’t trust God and we need to learn how to trust Him.” There. You. Go. Lent is all about loving God more, not just praying more, fasting more, and giving more, although these are all a part of the season and ways in which we show that love. The whole purpose of Lent is to become more Christ-like and that can only happen when we trust Him more. More trust equals more faith in Him.

Lent has been here since Ash Wednesday, of course, but on this Laetare (“Rejoice”) Sunday, in typical procrastinating fashion I’m just now taking the time to share something that my readers who observe Lent might find helpful. After all, we may be on the downhill run but we’ve still got three weeks to go! Below you will find–in my opinion–the best one-stop shopping (so to speak) for all things Lent from the wonderful Karen Edmisten.

So, grab your favorite acceptable Lenten beverage–I know some of you have painfully given up your precious Dr. Pepper or cozy cup of joe–settle into a comfy chair, and prepare to be informed, encouraged, and generally motivated to embrace this season in all of its unique challenges. Finally, I pray you and yours have, as Karen’s youngest daughter once said, “a meaningful Lent.” Blessings to you!

http://karenedmisten.blogspot.com/2018/02/its-back-meaningful-lent.html

Take One Day

“I just take one day. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today to love Jesus.”

St. Teresa of Calcutta

This dovetails nicely with today’s message from Dynamic Catholic’s “Best Lent Ever”–a fabulous free online resource–which stresses the importance of living each day in the present moment. You can watch the complete short video or read the transcript here:

https://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/lent-reflections-2018/a-chance-to-turn-it-all-around

Each day we have is a gift. During Lent we intentionally focus on deepening our relationship with Christ so that we can celebrate Easter all the more fully when it comes. If you have difficulty–as I often do–with living one day at a time, one moment at a time, you can change. You can, as Matthew Kelly says, embrace the truth that, “God is constantly calling us…and saying, ‘Focus on the moment. Focus on the moment. Be completely present in the moment.’ ”

It’s never too late to “turn it all around.” This Lent, may you go deeper in your relationship with God the Father and His son Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Have a holy Lent!

 

 

 

Too Much Tuesdays

Today I’d like to bring up the reminder that we can often end up, for a variety of reasons, with too many material possessions. This may not be a problem for you but for the majority of Americans it is. (Hence the booming storage unit business, professional organizers/declutterers, and books on organizing/decluttering). Many of us wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time, keep things that are broken that may or may not be fixable, find parting with objects we no longer need but paid a lot for almost impossible, (not to mention the items we feel we’d get in trouble for if the giver knew we parted with it), and the list just goes on. As I work on my decluttering–due to my lifelong difficulty with either getting rid of things or just procrastinating on making the decisions involved in doing so–I’ve learned something valuable. If you focus on how letting go of this excess stuff will be a blessing to someone else then it becomes a form of alms-giving. So, consider giving some of your excess away and be a blessing to someone else this Lent (and year round!). Prayerfully think of what others’ needs are, keep what you truly love/need, and then be as generous as you possibly can.

There are all kinds of places that will accept your donations; some will even come to you. There are your traditional thrift stores–some of whom will come to you–as well as freecycle.org, craigslist.org, etc. Even specialty items can be of great help, particularly with new or gently used ones: off the top of my head crisis pregnancy centers accept a variety of items to help those in need prepare for a child they hadn’t planned on having. And last but not least, what about cleaning out your cabinets and making a donation to your local food pantry? Also, some schools have a weekend backpack program where you assist in providing various items to help kids who don’t have enough to eat at home (although some prefer monetary donations only in order to finance their buying quality food in bulk).

Whatever the case, we don’t have to keep living with Too Much Stuff. There are so many out there who lack the basics and/or could use some of your non-used or less-liked items to provide for them. Don’t donate worn out stuff; be picky. If you wouldn’t wear/use it, trash it. But if it’s taking up space that you could use for other things–or that glorious breathing space that so many homes lack these days–send it packing and let someone else know that Someone is looking out for their needs and wants just like you know He is yours.

Easter is on its way!

 

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