Monday, February 23, 2009

Preparing for Lent; it's not about taking things away from lifestyle but adding value to your life

I am somewhat surprised at the too simplistic way that many believers approach the Lenten season.

Their attitude is not one of exciting anticipation but resigned recognition that their lifestyle will be changed for a few weeks. And then they make silly selections like giving up chocolate or soft drink for the season as a representative participation in Christ's suffering.

God must be shaking his head in disappointment.

It is only people who have suffered greatly, such as with cancer, who can really appreciate and embrace the season and act accordingly in a way that God would find pride.

Lent is not about subtracting, it is about adding, specifically an appreciation for life, including its suffering and bad breaks. And we do so more in this season than others because our Savior experienced it all, as did his mother with her seven sorrows.

Don't make silly subtractions from your lifestyle. Choose additions to your life. I will be going to Mass daily to increase my appreciation for Christ's sacrifice and boost my spirituality. And at Mass, my pastor the Rev. Joe Pat Breen gives updates on needs among members of the parish and the community. With this information, he provides personal ways we can interact and make a difference but adding to our life and others.

Lent is a good time to add to one's participation in the community, either in addressing needs of the less fortunate or reinforcing those assets that have made a difference over the generations. Children and their schools could be a place where your additions to your life during Lent could deliver more richness to your life.

Don't fall into the simplistic trap of cutting out chocolate or soft drinks for Lent as anything representative of recognizing Christ's sacrifice. That's a cop out. Choose things that take from your busy schedules and add to your involvement in Christ-like activities of Matthew 25.

And place all your sufferings at the foot of the cross. Christ is with us, because He has experienced all we've been through. And He represents the hope of resurrection from these hurts into a new and better creature in God.

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