As a child, I used to dread Lent. I'd spend the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday stressing over what I would give up. It was a ritualistic, self-imposed spiritual insecurity. Lent was a time of best behavior, it was a time of sacrifice. It was a time of acknowledging that I could be better for the other 320 or so days and chose not to. Waves of that familiar Catholic guilt would overwhelm me until I settled on something I thought was worthy. And then I'd give up chocolate, or candy, or TV time. And for forty days I would suffer through less sugar and more time reading, only to binge on Easter candy and movie marathons, not really understanding what Lent could mean.
Because Lent can be so much more. At it's core, Lent is about love. That's the message that Christ gave us, during His life. It's why He stretched out His arms and died on a cross, because He loves us so completely that He would die so that we might live again. Lent is our opportunity to live that love, it's a spring board into deeper holiness and deeper understanding of our faith, not just for forty days, but for the rest of our lives.
Two years ago, I prayed a daily rosary for Lent and witnessed firsthand the healing power of prayer-- not just for myself, but for those around me. Last year, I said yes and did some of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. This year, as I prepare for the birth of my second son, I'm focusing on small things. I'm making the bed, every single day. If you know me, you know that this might be one of the most difficult things that I could do. And yet this small gesture, this small moment of love will bring joy. I'm limiting my social media time-- not stopping completely, but being more conscious of the time I spend and finding better ways to use that time. And I will be attending daily mass at least once a week. Little things, that can yield a great impact.
I won't be changing the world. I won't be moving mountains or rewriting the the history of mankind. But I will be learning, shutting down distractions and opening myself up to God. And I won't stop there. I want to live Lent, all year. I want Lent to be a stepping stone into greater faith, to deeper sacrifice. I want to keep the love in Lent. Not just for me, not just for my family, but for the whole world. I want to be Holy, Lord, for You.
How are you keeping the love in Lent?
Chris at Campfires and Cleats
Tina at Truly Rich Mom
Tracy at A Slice of Smith Life