||February 23, 2015 • VOL. 53, NO. 4 • Oakland, CA|
Lent: Do something, and do it out of love
My brothers and sisters, fellow disciples of Jesus Christ,
As a spiritual director in seminaries for 12 years I cautioned the men not to attempt something too grand, for fear you may give it up within a week. (In fifth grade I tried to give up all TV for Lent and collapsed in failure in less than a week, as my brothers kept turning up the channel when "Superman" was on, my favorite show).
I usually advised my seminarians to give up something they would notice, but no one else would. If you usually take sugar and cream in your coffee, drink it black during Lent. If you usually put butter and jam on your toast, eat it dry. Small things, done in love, are very efficacious.
Love is the key. It does not matter so much what we do, but who we are doing it for.
We offer our 40 days of Lenten sacrifice for someone who has loved us first. And died for us.
I am writing this on the last day of my annual eight day retreat. I was drawn to spend time this year reading again the account of Our Lord's Passion.
I also watched the graphic film "The Passion of the Christ," which I had not seen in 10 years. When we realize how much Our Lord endured out of love for us, our sacrifices seem very small indeed. The important thing is that we do something this Lent, and do that out of love for Him.
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