Living Lent

Love requires grace

“Mindfulness is being completely aware each and every present moment.” — from Seasons of Grace

Lent begins and barely five days into it I’m not sure whether I’m being God tested or Satan tempted. Giving up something for Lent appears to be so “for children only” and doing more has been the mainstay for Lents past. This Lent I decided to do something really difficult {for me anyway}: Be mindful of my words and (reactive) behavior.

Do I need to exercise more and eat healthier? Yes, I do. Should I outstretch my hand a bit further than I already have? Yes, I should. But these are the matters of my everyday existence. Claiming those hurdles for Lent is akin to making the same resolutions every New Year. Easily forgotten; rarely if ever fulfilled.

Day 4 autumn 2living the liturgy::

We come to Lent and, with it, back to the beginning. The fall. A lot can be said of both Adam and Eve’s behavior; suffice it to say that they both equally sinned. In Romans 5:18 we are given this to ponder deeply, “Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the One, the many will be made righteous.”

If I am to take scripture and apply it to the here and now, I must recognize that as a human being, I reenact the fall each and every time I sin. Subsequently, I must acknowledge that when I sin, I affect every single person I am in contact with at the time I fall. This is heavy. Every.single.person. Unless I’m planning a surprise party or event, every time I whisper, “Shh, don’t tell [fill in the blank],” to another (adult or child), I’m taking them down with me. Every instance where I pepper my conversation with cynicism, or less-than-stellar, remarks towards another (family member, friend, coworker), I take the other person, indeed all of the other people, gathered around that conversation down with me. It doesn’t matter the medium: face-to-face, over the phone (verbal or text), email or snailmail –> if I’m not doing my part to, “encourage one another and build each other up,” then I’m taking everyone who hears or reads my words down with me.

Truly, it doesn’t get much heavier than that, my friends.

reading::

I’ve laid down some of the books I’ve been systematically working myself through: Bread & Wine (Shauna Niequist), Winter’s Tale (Mark Helprin), and Les Miserables (Victor Hugo…I know, I know…been at this one way-too-long) and am currently living Lent with a little help from: Seasons of Grace (Alan Jones & John O’Neil), Bringing Lent Home with St. Therese of Lisieux: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families (Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle), & Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter (Orbis Books).

All are instrumental in helping me to keep Lent intentional and deepening my belief that, if I keep His Word first and foremost throughout my days, all of Lent’s giving up and doing more, as well as every New Year’s resolution ever made, will fall into place. Only His Will alone can fulfill my Wish List.

listening to:

The voices of children outside playing in a jumper and on a water slide. The hum of laundry drying. Neighbors going about their day.

Looking back on:

A week that started with Oscar Sunday and the annual party that our daughters and I plan for family & friends.  And how Ellen made the whole world realize just how like us the stars are with this:

Ellen Oscar Selfie

Because we tend to forget, don’t we, that we all have different jobs and purposes in this life, but we’re still all in this together. Pizza, anyone?

Ash Wednesday and how deeply it affects me as a Catholic Christian. Since childhood this season has always been one of solemnity and quietude. So much so, that I often find it difficult to outwardly rejoice and embrace Easter Day, due to the depths my soul reaches in reflection and how unworthy I sometimes feel to be loved so much by an Almighty God.

March {birthday} Madness — after years of being the lone March baby, I now share this month with a granddaughter and son-in-law. Strange to celebrate anything remotely birthday-ish, since I’ve always rather downplayed my birthday {Oh, beware of the Ides of March, , “Et tu, Brute?“}, choosing to focus on St. Patrick’s Day instead.

working on::

Our budget and, perhaps, visiting with our taxes.

praying for::

A coworker’s grandson who underwent an emergency appendectomy earlier this week — at the tender age of four.

Our “fifth” daughter as she enters her third trimester with twin boys. Sending her angels to not only watch over her now, but to continue doing so through the Dog Days of mommy-hood.

Our youngest daughter who came home from work last night feeling ill and sent herself to bed without dinner. I hope it’s just a bout with “overwhelming birthday party preparedness” for our granddaughter’s 10th birthday and nothing more.

For friends, family, and coworkers fighting medical ups & downs and relationship demons, so that they never lose sight of how much they are loved by us and God.

How can I pray for you this week, dear reader?

Shamrocks 1

Blessings

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