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The more I think about it, the more I wonder if Lent is actually a love letter from God.
The gifts Lent can bring are
the dedicated time to sit and connect with Our Lord;
the discovery (or re-discovery) of our true identity;
and the reminder that all life is valuable – including your own!
The gifts of prayer and fasting:
God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.
Mother Teresa (Saint Teresa of Calcutta)
We as a culture, (in my opinion) are more uncomfortable with silence than any civilization in history.
There is a discomfort that occurs when we sit in silence. Seeing someone out in public who is alone and NOT looking at a phone has become a rarity.
We may not hear music or voices, but those images and words on the screen are creating noise in our minds. That noise creates less of an opportunity to hear God.
This video is a MUST WATCH: Phone addiction
This video addresses topics like:
Giving children access to phones and social media at young ages is not good for them. They are not ready for it.
How we as adults wait for meetings to begin and handle all sorts of “in-between” times. Then he states, relationships are built during “in between” time.
I’m going to take his observation a step further and ask:
How can we build a relationship with Our Lord if we never put ourselves in His Presence. God speaks in the silence.
Lent is the perfect time to find a Eucharistic Adoration chapel and visit it.
If you have a child that is a tween or teen – BRING HIM OR HER WITH YOU.
Help them find God’s voice and personal comfort with silence. Help them fast from their phones and social media.
Give yourself this gift of silence and Our Lord’s company to yourself as well.
It may help to bring a prayer journal along. If you have a tween daughter, give her the Be Yourself Journal and some gel pens. Escape into the silence with messages from the Saints and Sacred Scripture.
Through Prayer and Fasting we can and should:
Retreat from the world. Recharge our spirit. Reconnect with Our Loving Father and Savior.
I can hear him saying this to you Momma!
Retreat from the noise of this world.
Let me re-charge your spirit
Come, spend time with Me
This time of prayer and fasting from the noise of the world gives us the chance to re-affirm and re-discover our identity.
We are in need of a simple reminder – Our identity is found in Christ.
We are not just a mom, an athlete, a writer, a spouse, a friend, a daughter or son – we are the child of God.
Our culture is in an identity crisis.
Let me share a personal story:
Around Christmas I went to Target in my search of “footy pajamas” for my son. He had finally grown out of the 5T size – but was still wearing his favorite pajamas which clearly no longer fit him. He is my oldest, so for the first time ever, I was shopping, as a mom, out of the toddler and baby section.
As I searched for where children’s pajamas would be – I looked at the signs above each section of the store. I was looking for the boys section. There was no sign that said boys. No sign that said Girls 7-12. There were several signs that simply said “Kids”.
You know what that meant – it took me twice as long to find out they did not have what I was looking for.
So, Target near Philly, you no longer have “boys” and “girls” sections? Now it’s all “kids”.
That’s not helpful!
The Target closer to farmland still differentiates the two. I will shop there..
Sorry, end rant.
Our identity is rooted in God. We are made in His image and likeness. We were created male and female. That doesn’t mean one is better than the other. But it is a part of our identity.
“God created man in his own image. . . . male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”
We often get wrapped up in our role as wife, mother – our children get wrapped up in being students, athletes, actors, musicians.
Who we are is so much more than those labels. We are a child of God.
I hear God saying – “Be that.”
The Gift of Almsgiving
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on “almsgiving,” which means donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity. As one of the three pillars of Lenten practice, almsgiving is “a witness to fraternal charity” and “a work of justice pleasing to God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2462).
Almsgiving is a reminder to love, value and appreciate all human life. It’s like the Lord is whispering, “Stop being Martha, be Mary!”
Almsgiving gives us the gift of sight. Through this gift we can see that all of life has value.
The life of the poor, the unborn, the life of the elderly, the life of the sick and the life of the disabled are all beautiful life in the eyes of God and should be in our eyes as well.
As I write this there are 7 states that now allow terminally ill patients to end their lives. In less than a week, New Jersey will bump that number up to 8.
More and more often I hear of women receiving poor pre-natal diagnosis for their unborn child, paired with the discussion of termination.
Someone with a disability has no less value in the eyes of God than someone born perfectly healthy.
I’ve recently become familiar with a ministry that is run by a man named John. John has a mild form of cerebral palsy. As founder of the Lego Church Project, John uses his interests and talents to show that even if someone has a disability, God still uses them to fulfill His holy will!
This is a ministry of mine where I show that even if you have a disability or other challenges that God can still use your talents. I have a mild form of cerebral palsy. I am showing the love and compassion that God shows me daily.
As I got to know a little bit about this ministry, I couldn’t help but think – this is a GREAT opportunity to give a young man (or young lady) who may have outgrown his Legos. He (or she) can donate the Legos that are no longer being used, and become aware of a person who has a disability but still thanks the Lord for his love and compassion daily!
To donate and find out more about the Lego Church Project, click here: Lego Church Project
Lent is a great reminder to not only give to others financially, but give of ourselves. Almsgiving also involves performing acts of charity.
Very recently I was given a book to review titled:
67 Ways to Do the Works of Mercy with Your Kids
As I paged through it, I found myself being reminded again to call Winnie. Winnie is a dear friend whom I met through being a Eucharistic Minister. Her husband has become homebound because of the onset of alzheimer’s disease. He served in WWII. They are both over 90 years old. They never had children.
So I called her and not only did I talk to her, but so did my 6 year old.
Paying them a visit is on the list too.
I’ve just begun to page through this book – I recommend you get a copy too.
We find ourselves so busy within our 4 walls and on our to-do lists that we often forget life is about so much more.
I feel like Lent has a way of letting us hear God say,
” I know you’re busy, but can we spend some time together?”
I find myself responding,
“I’m so sorry God. I’ve been neglecting You. Thank you for not leaving me and reminding me to come to You”.
What is God saying to you during this Lenten season? What is in your “Lenten Love Letter”?