Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do You Need a Lent Pep Talk?

Do you need a Lent pep talk?

I do.

Especially after yesterday's news that gave the entire Catholic world a shock.

Pope Benedict XVI was pope when I came back to the Church; he was elected on my birthday. I have a special place in my heart for him, always will. So, his resignation is a sad moment for me, as it is for many, many people. But from following this humble, brilliant, faith-filled man very closely over the past years, I can say with great confidence and faith that this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth Scalia put it beautifully in her post on the subject:

If John Paul went out like the sustained note of a grand organ, fading into silence, Benedict simply senses his tiredness and the hour, closes up his piano, and bids us adieu. Ratzinger, in the end, is still Ratzinger: he does his work, kisses it all up to the Holy Spirit and moves on, not particularly concerned about the peripheral yakking of man or media.

So, like many of you, I am feeling a bit down.

I also had a minor surgery recently that took me longer than expected to recover from, and this, in combination with the pope news, is helping me to feel mentally unprepared for Lent. Normally, I would be all ready to go for Lent. I would have some ideas brewing. I start to get stoked to make sacrifices, and to live life in higher tension. Usually, Jesus gives me an idea of a theme for each Lent, (yes this is strange but Jesus knows me, I am like the Martha Stewart of Lent).

But this year, as Ash Wednesday approaches, I find myself feeling, well, blah.

So, in the interest of pumping myself up, I am going to give myself a few pointers (and hopefully they are helpful to you too!):

1.  You Don't Plan Lent, God Plans Lent: You can plan all you want and pick that perfect thing to sacrifice that no one will notice, that will make you think you are holy and have you sweetly suffering all forty days long - but none of that matters a whole lot to the Big Guy. God has a plan for your Lent, and you know what - God is a procrastinator. It might take him a while to communicate what that plan is, it might just unfold minute by minute, day by day. Are you going to be too involved in your own self inflicted sacrifices to notice?

2. Lent is an Adventure, Embrace It!: Here's a crazy idea, what if instead of choosing your own crazy sacrifices, you accepted the sacrifices that every day naturally brings you - with a smile, serenity, and yes it's possible - joy! Smiling at the annoying co-worker who visits you in your cubicle every day to ask the same question seems much harder than giving up chocolate you say? Yah, that's kind of the point.

3. Lent as Practicing Virtue: There's a reason St. Thomas wrote about the virtues obsessively. Holiness is our goodness in relationship to God, but the way this goodness can translate to action is in the practice of virtue. If we judge by most sacrifices made in Lent, it would seem that most people think they need to work on the virtue of temperance, but I am not sure they actually think of Lenten sacrifices in terms of practicing virtue! It might help to think of the virtue that you need to work on and then pick a sacrifice that will help you to work on it. This list might help.

You will be in my prayers during Lent, please pray for me!

I may or may not be posting much during Lent, I am going to leave it up to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, (here's to hoping He doesn't ask me to resign!) :)

Follow me on Twitter or like my blog’s Facebook page if you want to keep updated.

Please feel free to comment with any ideas for Lent. And if you have any prayer requests during this time, please let me know and I will put them in the sisters’ prayer intention book. 

God bless!


Anonymous said...

Please pray for marriages are suffering. Sometimes they need a miracle conversion. Pray also for those dealing with drug addictions.

T.L. said...

agh I just gave up FB and my social network for Lent, but I'd love to share your post . Irony.
Anyway. Have a good Lent and thanks for the pep talk :)

tagnes said...

Anonymous - Those are both prayer intentions that are very important to me, thank you for reminding me to keep them in my heart this Lent. I will especially pray for those situations in your life which inspire you with these intentions. It is hard for us humans to believe but we must keep reminding ourselves that there is always hope, abundant hope, even in the most hopeless of situations - the Cross is the best example of this. Lots of love this Lent.

T.L. - The sacrifice of not sharing something you want to share is probably worth a lot more in heaven than actually sharing my post!

Many Lenten blessings!

Sr. Theresa

Sr. Lorraine said...

All great suggestions, Theresa, and I especially like point 3!

I do feel sad about the Pope resigning, but I'm sure God will bring good out of it. However I suspect it's more than just "feeling his age," I think there must be something else going on, but it would be idle to speculate.

KathrynH said...

I am thankful that you remind me that God plans Lent as I have been really struggling with Lent this year....this has never happened to me before....so thank you

tagnes said...

@Sr. Lorraine - I thought you would like point #3, it was inspired by your class on the virtues! (And I tend to agree something else is going on, but yes what is the use in speculating?)

@Kathryn - I am so glad it was helpful to you, praise God!

K T Cat said...

I like the idea that Lent is an adventure. Thanks for sharing that!