Every year during Lent the Church blesses us with a structured, extended reminder of the sacrifices that our Lord made on our behalf. He carried our burdens, He carried our cross, and He died for our sins. Lent is a beautiful time to focus on and reflect on the sacrifices that our Lord has made for us, while also reflecting on the ways we have been blessed in our own lives. We are called to pray, fast, and give alms. Now, are these things we should make a habit out of doing every day of the year? Yes! Do we always do that? We likely all fall somewhere along the spectrum between Yes and No. Lent provides us with a time to focus on re-structuring and re-orienting our lives toward God.
Every year as I contemplate what I will sacrifice during Lent my human nature is drawn toward food items. Who couldn’t use a spiritual reason for a diet, right? If I have been unable to keep those New Years resolutions, maybe the Lenten season will give me the motivation I need to get back on track! While any sacrifice is well and good, is this really pushing me to a deeper level spiritually? Or am I using Lent as a tool to seek my own desires? Is Lent supposed to be about giving up chocolate or sweets or pop with the hope of that added bonus of being 5 pounds lighter at Easter? Or is Lent about giving up challenging sacrifices that push us spiritually and draw us closer to our Lord?
I challenge you this Lent to move beyond material and superficial sacrifices that you have done for years past. Stretch yourself this year to prayerfully discern what God is calling you to sacrifice and what God is calling you to modify in your own life this Lent. Allow God to guide you as you prepare your heart to celebrate and rejoice with Him this Easter. What sacrifices, additional prayer, and additional fasting (beyond Church mandated fasting!) can you offer up to our Lord this Let? Let us all strive to move beyond the simple, superficial sacrifices and really dig deeper. Let’s show our Lord that His sacrifice on the cross was worth more than our simple sacrifice of chocolate or pop! How can you re-structure and re-orient your life toward God this Lent, and create habits in your life that will bring you and your family closer to Him all year through?