Lent Calls Out - What Are You Made Of?
spend in Lent, learning to give up and give in, will lead to more regular times of quiet devotion.
Think on these things
The Apostle Paul understood the rigors of life and the patterns of behavior that can manifest from our daily dose of humanity. While in jail, a place of true suffering, he wrote to the Church at Philippi, injecting a strong admonition that would help cleanse the mind and heart from the impurity to which they were exposed.
He wrote, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:7-8)
Particularly today, with all the economic upheaval and political tension, the news - and even our conversation - is fear-filled and faith-deprived. Lent is a wonderful time to turn off the bad news and get into the Good News." This is our opportunity to set new practices in place. We can establish new habits, making time to meditate on the Scriptures, praying, and offering ourselves in great measures of devotion. We can fill our minds with those things that are truly praiseworthy.
During our Lenten Observance, we can overturn many of the negative influences we are experiencing by simply heeding the call of St. Paul to think dwell upon the things of God.
The Lenten "Fiat"
As a Catholic convert nothing has taken hold in my heart stronger than the "fiat" of Mary. After decades of living in Protestant denial her significant role in salvation history, I am caught up in the wonder and thrill of her "let it be."
A young woman was willing to risk it all with no understanding of what the future would hold. She just knew God had spoken, so she said yes and bring salvation into the world through her womb.
Today, her constant prayer is that faithful sons and daughters of God would also offer their "fiat" to Him, consecrating their lives to Christ and living only for Him no matter what their secular vocation would be.
The world will be changed more through the obedience of men and women in the course of their daily lives than through a cadre of priests marching through the streets. Should the laity ever discover the real power of "fiat" in changing the course of human history, our culture would never be the same again.
Resolute, unreserved, whole-hearted consecration by the Church militant would be a force like none other. As our Holy Father, John Paul II said, "Are you capable of risking your life for someone? Do it for Christ."
We may not know what it would like to be as a foot soldier in the middle ages or one of the disciples spreading the gospel after Christ's passion, death and resurrection. We may not experience the same weariness, weakness and malnutrition suffered by our Lord in the wilderness.
We can know, however, what it is like to deny ourselves of comforts and conveniences in the midst of our everyday life. We can choose to give more of our day and our devotion to the Lord.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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