Lent a time for self-giving, rather than ‘giving up’

| March 4, 2019 | 0 Comments
Candy

iStock/Milkos

We have entered the liturgical season of Lent, which is a time of spiritual renewal and restoration, intended to prepare us for the great feast of Easter. How will we spend these precious days ahead?

I remember as a child giving up candy during Lent, which, of course, seemed like such a sacrifice. In fact, many Catholics continue to think of Lent as a time of giving up something that is appealing to them so they are able to think about the sacrifices Jesus made on our behalf. This, however, fulfills an expectation of the season from the faith perspective of a child, rather than an adult.

What if Lent wasn’t a time to give up something, but rather a time to become something? What if we each thought about ways we could dedicate ourselves to making the world a better, more loving place for others, as well as ourselves, thereby bringing the spirit of Jesus to the earth in our common experiences and relationships?

As a season of renewal, Lent could be the time we decide unselfishly to change a bad habit, such as identifying things in life that annoy us or cause us to see the darker side of a situation, rather than looking more optimistically at what troubles us. We could think of someone who needs help and make time to do what we can, rather than go about our busy, distracted way. We could say “yes” to one of our married children who is juggling so many aspects of life when they need us to babysit or help them for a day.

ACTION CHALLENGETake time today to think about your Lenten journey and how you are preparing yourself for Christ’s coming in your heart at Easter. Think about prayer, fasting and almsgiving and find ways to fulfill each area of preparation during this season.

Lent is more a time of self-denial and self-giving, rather than a time of giving up, because the former helps us connect more effectively and lovingly with others in our lives, for we have taken time to see them and the needs they have. This was something Jesus did to a masterful level. He stopped and touched people. He asked them what they needed from him, and he met their needs — not only in loving ways, but also in miraculous ways.

Lent is a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus’ spirit in our lives and our hearts at Easter, so that we, too, are risen with him from the tombs in which we reside. By turning away from unfulfilling habits we have formed throughout this past year that have taken us further away from his love, this is our opportunity to turn toward him. We can let him completely overtake us and shine his love into every aspect of our lives.

Perhaps you will choose to go to adoration once a week to spend time with the Blessed Sacrament, allowing him to speak to you in the quietness of your solitude with him. You may choose to go to daily Mass — perhaps something you set as a New Years’ resolution and have yet to fulfill. Or you may choose to fast between meals, thereby creating a hunger for the fullness of the depth of our faith to fill you. Finally, you may choose to take time and clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards, thereby giving yourself a more pristine, tidy home, as well as bringing the items you no longer need or want to a donation center for others to have and use.

Lent is a time of renewal and restoration of our mind, body and spirit. In this first week of this precious season, dedicate yourself to begin today and participate in the prayer, fasting and almsgiving required of us by preparing yourself for Christ, so he will find an abundant, blessed space to call his own.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Simple Holiness