This Lent continues to be time of revelations and realizations for me. In my last posting, I wrote that the first week of Lent had been a whirlwind. Though less intense than the beginning, in the past few weeks two major themes have emerged for me: 1) God constantly provides graces, and 2) the Eucharist has a calming effect.
This Lent I “gave up” selfish time to increase my God-time. Two main ways I have given more time to God is by reading a chapter of The Spiritual Combat and attending daily Mass. I am happy to say that I have been faithful to my Lenten devotions. They have become part of my daily routine. God is on my mind more than ever. This is where I recognized God’s constant grace and the Eucharistic calming.
The Spiritual Combat says that God is always present and willing to help us overcome our vices. We certainly cannot do it alone. We have to recognize our fallibilities, be careful of self-pride, and seek God’s help. When we overcome our vices, we need to recognize that God has been involved in the process.
With this in mind, my prayer life has increased. I feel God is constantly near. I find myself thanking God more throughout the day. When states of temptation are present and I resist them, I realize that God helped me overcome them. It is through his graces that I have been able to overcome temptation. I think of God constantly and freely showering me with graces to do the right thing. I realize that his graces are there for the taking. It is up to me to reach-out and take advantage of them. Deliver us, Lord, from every evil.
We have a large crucifix at the end of the hallway at the top of our stairs. It is the first thing we see once reaching the top. It has become one of my reminders to say a quick prayer and thank God for all he does for me throughout the day.
The Calming Effects of the Eucharist
Vicki and I have been attending daily weekday Mass as part of our Lenten devotion. This Lent daily Mass is celebrated in the late afternoon at 5:30 p.m. This turns out to not only be a convenient time for us to attend, but also a time to bring the burdens of a busy day and offer them to God and seek his help.
Recently it dawned on me that after receiving Communion I feel lighter, a little calmer internally. All the worrisome, bothersome events or anxieties of the day seem to go away once I receive Communion. Is this just a power of suggestion in wanting to think that Holy Communion would have this calming effect? I had to conclude it was not. I would be short-changing God, especially after knowing that he has been showering me with graces all day long. It is one more grace that he has given me for the day. He has given me rest. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety.
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Even on those days where I have no obvious stressors going on, he still gives me that calming effect! On those days, instead of bringing him my burdens, I receive the Eucharist in thanksgiving for all the good graces and help I have received. So, it is not a fanciful wish for calmness. It is truly God at work, because I am receiving calm even when I do not believe I need it.
Take time in your own lives to look for and grab the graces God showers upon you every day. Those graces will help you overcome many hurdles. When you receive Communion, see if God provides a sense of calm in your day and gives you rest.
Copyright 2017 Michael Carrillo
Copyright 2017, Michael T Carrillo
About the Author
Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.