The Lenten season is once more upon us. It is a time to sacrifice through punishment, try greater friendship with God in prayer, and give to those in need. These are all things we should be doing all time long, but Lent deepens our awareness and reaps us away from the things of this world into the desert with Our Lord where we can be refined through self-imposed mortifications. This purification is the path to greater love.
The process is not meant to be easy. In fact, it is desirable to unpleasant, because we are called to put to death our own self-love for love of God and in order to desire others. This causes us significant agony due to our unholy quality. We are reminded that we are to seek the spiritual above the bodily. We are body and flavour, but the spirit is meant to be the master of the body. In our perish sinful mood, it is the body with the senses that are commonly rule over us.
Lent is an opportunity to grow in benevolence through the call to die-to-self. By a unjustified endow from God, the supernatural virtue of kindnes is being moved out on us in abundance. The limitation of charity does not happen on God’s end. It happens within each one of us. We decide whether or not the authorities concerned will love God above all else and our neighbour as our souls in each instant of the day. Very often we fail in both areas because of sin or weakness on our own part.
It is through the Lenten season that we concentrates on three of the great spiritual weapons Christ gives to us on the path to holiness: petition, penalty, and almsgiving. Often we know we need to cry and that all of us should be praying more. We know we should give to the poor. What we may not realize is that prayer is increased through punishment. All of the saints of the Church lived lives of prayer and self-mortification. The more we train our figures, the more the Holy Spirit can draw us into deeper insinuate solidarity with the Most Holy Trinity through prayer.
Mortification of the flesh allows us to be freed from the material things of this life that weigh us down or occupy too great a locate in our lives. When we turn to offering penances through numerous annoyances, we very quickly discover that within us are endless incorrect deities clamoring to be in place of God. These same blasphemies or evils keep us from being able to love our neighbour freely because so often they pass us to cling to our own selfish libidoes. We no longer encounter the higher good–the person–in front of us. Instead, we want whatever pleasure is before us.
We often set God after everything else we want to do. Most of us complain that we simply do not have enough time to pray because we are too busy. Upon further investigate, however, we discover that we have ample time for social media, video, or any other distraction that keeps us from crying. If we turned away from the screen for a few minutes we could easily consume time in Sacred Scripture, cry a Rosary, or a Divine Mercy Chaplet. Time isn’t the issue. It’s our priorities, which is why Lent is such a anointed season in how it reorients us to God through a temporary turning away from these goods.
It’s not that the things of this world are evil and should be despised. God’s creation is good. The problem is that we have an inordinate attachment to the things of this world that continues us from turning to God. We are not made to dwell here forever. We are made for heaven and the only way we can prepare for the mysterious goods of eternal life is through a turning away from the material goods of “peoples lives” towards God with the increased attention. Penance is this turning away, and the more we persevere in penalty, the more we will discover our someones growing in charity.
One way we can embrace the afflictions of Lent with greater exultation is by re-orienting our sacrifices to God’s greater splendor and to desire of our neighbour. The Church’s teaching on redemptive abide shows us how our relinquishes and suffers united to Christ Crucified for the sake of others can help us walk through Lent with euphorium despite the great difficulties we may encounter in seeking to die-to-self in devotion, punishment, and almsgiving.
We are not only seeking to grow in greater holiness for ourselves, but our sacrifices–when offered to Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary–will be used to help those around us develop in holiness as well. We are not on this pilgrimage alone. In the beautiful work In Sinu Jesu–which is the diary of a Benedictine monk in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament–Our Lord tells this priest-adorer about the knack of redemptive affliction 😛 TAGEND
You cannot see from where you are in this life now the dominance and value of woes united to My own. Anything given to Me, anything placed in My priestly passes, I lift up and offer to the Father, covered with My Precious Blood. It are precisely what stirs your feels, even the smaller ones, cherished to Me, and prized in the vision of My Father.
Penances are small relinquishes, which are a type of suffering, that can be offered to Christ for others. This crusade outwards in love towards Our Crucified Savior and our neighbor often minimizes certain difficulties. It is still a battle to fight against the flesh, but the sweetness of donation obliges the relinquishes perceive less harsh. This is because charity is the ultimate path to freedom. The part litmus test for this life is charity.
Lent is an opportunity to grow in the spiritual goods in order to rightly dictate our mass to God, but it is also a go when we can offer our torment for the needs of others. Both increase our capacity to love. The more we affection God, the more the authorities concerned will desire our neighbor. We often compartmentalize too much of the spiritual soul. Everything is interconnected in astonishing and strange spaces is familiar with God alone.
As we go through these next 39 days of Lent, let us focus on offering our petitions, self-mortifications, and alms with a sincere force of kindnes. Remembering, as St. Catherine of Siena said: “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.” A genuinely enormous adore of God and others will cost us everything in this life, but the compensations in the next life will make all the stands and relinquishes worth noting. With that in imagination, we can embrace certain difficulties of this holy season joyfully.
Pain is the chalice of love.
Servant of God Catherine Doherty
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