But is this not what Lent is supposed to do? Make us feel a little uncomfortable? Make us consider the path of Our Lord’s Passion? Make us turn inward to know that our only refuge in the desert is through the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
I am noticing things I should have given up for Lent. As a working Catholic mom, I often fall into these traps without notice – until Lent.
I should have considered giving up gossip and grumbling at work.
I should have given up the constant distraction of social media.
I should have given up yelling at my kids.
But I did not give up these things…only now do I notice them. Only now can I ask Blessed Mary to help me develop the virtues of humility, patience, meekness, gentleness. And I have been asking those very things.
One thing I have tried to do this Lent is clear my mind and listen. I have tried to make more time for reflective praying, truly trying to listen to the still small voice.
The other day, I was blow drying my hair for work, when I was going through the litany of negativity in my mind about things I was upset about at this time. I said a prayer quickly, asking Jesus to show me the way to process this all and to FIX it (I was asking Jesus to show ME how to FIX all of this = STUPID). When I turned on the blow dryer, I recalled a statement in the Bible, “I have conquered the world.”
Here is the real quote:
“Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:32-33
Combined with reading stories about St. Rita of Cascia, my Lent has taken a new journey…one of listening with my heart, not just my ears.
St. Rita led a life of suffering – and complete surrender to the Passion of Our Lord – knowing He was fully providential and loved her immensely. She lived a married life for a long time, in an unhappy marriage. However, she was graced with her husband’s conversion. Later, he died at the hands of his enemies. She would later become a sister, which was the longing of her heart. However, she continued to suffer at the hands of her convent, and ultimately bore a wound of Christ, repelling many from her.
She was never afraid to embrace the Passion of Our Lord. She understood that in this life, we suffer much, but there is no need to fear, for Our Lord has conquered it all.
What are you doing this Lent to walk your journey of faith? Though I did not “give up” anything so to speak, I am growing in holiness through the internal shifts in thoughts and prayer. Here are a few things that you may want to try, if you are still struggling with the journey:
- Read a book about a saint. I truly believe Our Lord led me to the life of St. Rita, for such a time as this. She is teaching me to embrace the Passion and the desert, so the celebration at Easter is much richer.
- Leave your telephone on your bedside table. You would be surprised how much this clears your day/evening for the things that really matter on this journey.
- Add Scripture into your day. I have incorporated reading the daily Mass readings. The flow of the messages truly helps me in this journey.
- Ask Our Blessed Mother to teach you virtue. Her ten principle virtues, as extolled by St. Louis de Monfort are: profound humility, lively faith, blind obedience, continual mental prayer, mortification of all things, surpassing purity, ardent charity, heroic patience, angelic sweetness, and divine wisdom. Aren’t these beautiful virtues to journey with during Lent?
- Mortify your tongue! Try to refrain from gossip and grumbling, especially at work (if you work outside of the home). These things damage others, and reject the Cross which the Lord has chosen for us.
I would love to hear about your Lenten journey. I pray it is one of sacrifice, joy, and closeness to Our Lord.
Copyright 2015 Mary Wallace
Art/photography: Sacred Heart, Mary Wallace, 2/26/2015, All rights reserved.
About the Author
Mary Wallace, PhD, is a devout Catholic wife, mother of 4 daughters, and college administrator. She is co-host of a Catholic radio show: Faith and Good Counsel, on Baton Rouge Catholic Community Radio. Mary is also a contributing writer at the Integrated Catholic Life. Follow Mary on Facebook.