Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten Reflections

I cannot believe that today is Ash Wednesday!

Can 2015 please slow down just a hair??

Actually, I love Ash Wednesday and the entire Lenten season--it's such a peaceful and joyous time in the Catholic Church (and Christian faith in general) and always leaves my soul feeling renewed and inspired. However, it hasn't always been that way for me and I would give things up for Lent for all the wrong reasons.

In 8th grade, I gave up junk food and pop so I could fit into my cotillion dress.

My senior year of high school, I started running a few times a week so I would look better in my prom dress.

My junior year of college, I gave up drinking on weekdays and cursing (partly for God; partly to break bad habits).

Do you see a pattern here?

How was losing weight so I'd look better in a dress giving glory to God (the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit)? How was being selfish and binge drinking on Sundays really turning away from sin? In short: It wasn't and it was actually driving my heart into a darker place.

During college, I wasn't going to church and probably wasn't making the greatest decisions (I could write it off as being a college student trying to find myself but I'm not going to make excuses). I have always believed in God and have always prayed but was I showing God to those I encountered? Was I being the best Christian I could be?


A few years ago, it finally "clicked" with me; I needed to be a better person and better Catholic. For Lent that year, I picked up my Bible (for the first time in who knows how long) and read a different excerpt each night before bed--I was finished giving up silly things for Lent that weren't bringing me closer to God. Do you want to know something? That was by far the most spiritually fulfilling Lent I had ever experienced.
Last year, I downloaded the Laudate app on my iPhone and dove into the daily scriptures and reflections each night before bed. I also read Fr. Robert Barron's Lenten Reflections every day during Jax's nap and learned so much! And although I vowed to no longer give things up for Lent, I gave up sweets (I have literally no willpower when it comes to sugar) and talked to God every time I had a sugar craving.

I'm looking forward to the start of another Lent and am excited to get closer to God by once again reading from Laudate each night before bed, following along with Fr. Barron's daily reflections, participating in the Love Dare (to help strengthen our sacrament of Matrimony), reading from The American Catholic Almanac (review coming soon), and by once again starting my "Thankful Friday" post here on the blog (I find that reflecting on and writing out all of my greatest blessings helps me to appreciate them even more).

I'm so excited to begin this Holy season of Lent and pray that you all have a blessed 40 days and 40 nights.

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