This week Leslie asks, “So, how is your lent going?”
We are about at the halfway point of Lent. Here is our sacrifice bean jar—–not half full yet.
The kids and I put a bean in the jar every time we do an act of self-denial, an act of charity, for saying extra prayers, going to weekday Masses, or Confession. On Easter
morning the dried beans are replaced with jelly beans. Our sacrifices become something sweet!
My husband and I recently attended a talk on spiritual warfare given by Fr. Michael Champagne. He said our greatest battle is with our own flesh. We pamper our flesh, indulge our appetites, and always want to be comfortable. Sadly most of us have grown soft.
So for Lent, my kids and I decided to come up with as many small ways as we could to deny our flesh and strengthen our spirit. Here are a few:
- Drink or eat out of the cup or bowl you don’t like.
- Wear shoes all day. (very hard for my kids)
- No salt on your eggs.
- No butter on your toast or syrup on your pancakes.
- Sleep without a pillow or one fewer than usual.
- Wear something you don’t like or something that is uncomfortable.
- Don’t wear makeup.
- Don’t turn the heater on while taking a bath.
- Take a cold bath.
- Eat less of what you like and more of what you don’t like.
- Don’t put chocolate in your milk or sugar in your coffee.
- Get up right away when woken up.
- Obey right away.
- Limit the number of times you check your phone.
- Smile at everyone you meet.
- Say ”good morning “when you are still tired and grumpy.
- Kneel down to pray the rosary.
- Don’t buy convenience items and give money saved to the poor.
- Give away a piece of clothing or toy that you still like and use.
- Drink only water for a day.
My soon-to-be twelve year old daughter is reading a great book called Junia. It is the fictional story of the life and death of early Christians in Rome. Junia is the daughter of a powerful Senator. She is befriended by a young girl who is a Christian. Junia does not know she is a Christian until she learns of her friend’s gruesome death and is given a letter left by her friend explaining her Christian faith. The young girl was tarred and set on fire. Because of her friend’s witness, Junia becomes a Christian, knowing that she too will probably be martyred. I am always amazed at the courage of the young martyrs of the early Church.
It makes me wonder if I or my children would be ready to die for our Faith when it is so hard to say no to the flesh in little things. Maybe making small sacrifices daily will help strengthen us for the day when God may call us to do something difficult. These things seem small, but are surprisingly difficult and have really shown me where my attachments lie. I’d love to hear your ideas to add to the list.
Let us pray:
Lord, you went into the desert for 40 days. You were hungry, tired, and uncomfortable. You did not give in to the desires of the flesh or the temptations set before You. Help us to lead mortified lives so that we can say yes to you when you ask us to do difficult things and truly experience the joy of Easter. Amen.