Well it’s that time of year again…what should I give up for Lent? Most of us tend to do the same thing year after year…chocolate, coffee, beer. All good. But let’s keep in mind the purpose of Lent. It’s simply this: to help make us into saints. It’s not to lose weight or to finally quit smoking, although those are certainly wonderful and welcome by products of self mortification.
We’re also asked to give alms. Now sure, giving to our favorite charity and our parish are good and when we give something up, the money we save should go to a worthy cause. But alms are not limited to monetary donations.
Look around you. Do you know anyone struggling today? I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many people today that are not shouldering heavy crosses. Catholic laity feeling deeply hurt and betrayed by so many cardinals, bishops, and other leaders that led the Church into its decades-long descent into sexual abuse and cover-ups. We see our nation being torn apart from a senseless debate on whether our Congress should pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in their mother’s womb. Families being torn apart by marital issues, parenting challenges, work-related stress or from substance abuse, pornography, and other addictions. Everywhere we turn, whether on TV, Internet, Social Media or other mass media outlets, we see our freedoms and values attacked at every turn. Even among my most devout friends the conversation easily turns to all “the horribles”. It can really shake our peace.
This Lent, let’s be particularly mindful of what we talk about. Sure, things are tough, but God is tougher. As the saying goes, “God is large and in charge!” As we see some of what Our Lady predicted at Fatima happening before our eyes, we need to continually remind ourselves and others of the most important thing she said: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
So perhaps the greatest alms we can give these days during (and beyond) the season of Lent are the life affirming words we say. Are we speaking affirming words of hope and love and life? Or are we adding to the fear and despair? Each person you encounter is fighting some kind of battle. Smile at them. Give them hope, especially your kids. Are you encouraging them or being critical? Depending on your temperament, criticism and perfectionism come easily. Take a look at that this Lent.
Now, for many this may seem a big challenge. It is. Let’s face it, living a life of Christian faith and morals is a challenge when we’re still trying to conform to the world and the flesh. But once you overcome that desire and firmly choose the narrow road, you find that living the Christian life is the only true road that leads to a life of peace and inner joy. Use your words to share that. Let Mary’s Immaculate Heart triumph in yours and help bring about her ultimate triumph. It starts with our words… “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John1: 1-5).
So this Lent, let’s start with our words and “Speak Life” of HOPE and LOVE. In the words of Christian recording artist Toby Mac’s song “Speak Life”:
Look into the eyes of the broken hearted, watch them come alive as soon as
you speak hope, you speak love, you speak life.”
* Listen to Toby Mac’s song – “Speak Life” HERE.
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