At the middle of this month, on February 14th, we will enter the holy time of prayer, penance, almsgiving and fasting which we call Lent. Traditionally we Catholics mark this Season by choosing some specific sacrifice -- letting go of some vice or some habitual activity, which though not harmful in itself, may keep us from a greater good such as prayer or good works on behalf of others. This Lenten sacrifice can also serve to remind us day by day of our Lenten call to conversion.
Giving up a favorite beverage or chocolate or desserts; cutting down on or eliminating T.V. or movies or computer games can all be well and good. Offering some service or doing some good deed can also be a pleasing sacrifice to God. But in light of the Ash Wednesday Gospel which reminds us of the sincere conversion which must underlie our sacrifices, I would like to suggest some other things we might consider “giving up” this Lent.
Here is my Lenten Sacrifice 10 Best List.
Choose to give up:
10. Taking the name of God in vain and using the gift of speech for vulgar talk.
9. Grumbling about the privilege of worshiping God on Sunday.
8. Speaking critically of anyone to others unless they truly need to know.
7. Deciding that daily prayer is the first thing to drop if your day is “too busy”.
6. Judging that persons in need “have brought it upon themselves” to free yourself from the responsibility of helping.
5. Exposing yourself to sexual temptations by pursuing inappropriate thoughts or entertainment.
4. “Friends” who lead you down the wrong path rather than help you grow.
3. Telling God how to do His job instead of seeking God’s will in everything.
2. Avoiding the Sacrament of Penance (Confession).
1. Thinking that everyone else needs conversion more than you.
These are a few ideas. I imagine you can think of others. It’s best to zero in on a few areas at most which represent our greatest shortcomings. If we could make of these a sacrifice to the Lord as we turn to Him with all our heart we would be well on our way to a Lent which is very pleasing to God.
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Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz