From: Mary Zimmerman
As we barely got past the Christmas season, made our New Yearís resolutions, maybe our mental ideas and vocal promises are already broken. Well, letís look at Lent as another great opportunity. We must not let it pass by without some special effort in some way go improve our lifestyle, trying to be the person God is calling us to be.
When we hear the word penance, meaning ďany voluntary suffering or punishment to show repentance for sin or wrongdoing,Ē that pretty much sums it up that we all need to do some makeup time for our sins and offenses. It is justice God requires of us. It is prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that are always recommended to us to appease Godís anger and console His heart.
Fasting sounds like a rather unpleasant word. Yes, food comes to mind and thatís good. I think we all struggle to keep our appetites in balance. Thereís also watching less or no TV, giving up smoking (that would be very good), eating less, giving up some favorite food, helping the poor, which brings up almsgiving. As humans we think we have to hug every last penny we got, after all we earned it, worked for it, and the poor didnít. Well maybe they couldnít for one reason or another. I think we are to give without asking too many questions. We need to plan ahead of time for our final test. I was hungry, did you feed me? I was naked, did you share your clothes with me? I was lonely in prison, did you visit me? If you did these kind deeds to the least of my brethren, you did them to me. Let us remember that the next time we see our cupboards overflowing with food and our clothes closets getting even smaller.
Letís dwell now a bit on the importance of prayer during Lent and every day. We as Catholics use the opportunity for daily Mass more frequently. It is the highest form of prayer for us. But regardless of our faith connection we need to vocalize our words toward our heavenly Father. Just visit Him. If you are sincere, you will be aware of His response to you in the way of answered prayer, inspirations from the Holy Spirit, peace in your heart, and inspiring us to love and forgive others. Letís dust off the ďGolden Rule.Ē Make it come alive and shine in our daily lives. ďDo unto others as youíd have them do unto you.Ē
We are all too quick to know or pretend we do, the faults and sins of others, yet not recognize our own. In other words, first remove the plank in your own eye to better see the splinter in someone elseís. It would do so much more good I think to encourage and build up someoneís better qualities than keep reminding them of their downfalls. Even so, with my effort of writing, getting encouragement from readers or just hearing about a new reader does a lot to keep me going.
Again, when we hear the word Lent, the word penance comes to mind, special attributes designed to help us repair our sinful past and forge ahead with Godís grace to be the person God created us to be. We are all called to be saints. Letís not miss the opportunity. Lent is that opportunity, let it not pass us by. Letís make it a special time to make things right with God and others. Maybe weíll have another chance to do this and maybe we wonít.
Of ourselves we accomplish nothing. Letís ask God to help us make a good Lent. If we die to sin we will surely eventually resurrect to the joys of heaven. Have a blessed Lent and a Happy Easter.