March 2, 2001
volume 12, no. 61

Lent is Good!

    Lent 2001 is upon us and what a grace-filled 40 days it can be for us!

    The season of Lent is a time for us to give ourselves a spiritual check-up. We ALL need to see where we are with God and our neighbor.

    Two ways to help ourselves get a good look are prayer and fasting.

    It is always heart-uplifting to see so many more people going to weekday Masses during Lent. I see so many people genuinely and faithfully attending daily Mass when ordinarily they don’t. This is a good Lenten practice. So many people have jobs, but plan their day so that they can attend Mass during their lunch hour, before going to work or in the late afternoon.

    Lent is a time to mortify ourselves in some way. That term may sound repulsive to those who have not been well-schooled in the importance of discipline in our spiritual lives.

    I always like to compare our spiritual health and our physical health. We all would agree that a very sedentary and self-gratifying form of physical living would bring about an unhealthy body that’s weak, flabby and lethargic. We need to eat good food and get sufficient rest and exercise to have a healthy body.

    The same is true for our spiritual lives. If we give in to every inclination that comes upon us, especially, in matters of sin; if we do not feed out souls frequently on the Everlasting Food, which is Our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist; if we do not daily give our souls the kind of “rest” that prayer and regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation brings to us, we will be spiritually weak, flabby and lethargic.

    We need Lent. We human beings tend to take the easy way out on most things. The road to Heaven, however, is not and will never be an easy one. If we are not physically fit, we cannot run a marathon. If we are not spiritually fit, we cannot run the spiritual race and win the prize of eternal life.

    We MUST pray extra during Lent and we must discipline ourselves in such a way that our souls will benefit.

    The word “mortify” means to “die to.” Even Jesus said we must die to ourselves that we might live in Heaven. Avoiding sin means saying “no” to ourselves and temptations that lead to sin. This requires discipline. This requires that we form “habits” of choosing the right things instead of the bad things.

    We can discipline ourselves by giving up certain foods and/or drinks. People who smoke can give up smoking. People can give up television, parties, eating out during Lent, sweets, for example.

    Our Lady of Medjugorje said that everyone can “fast” in some way. She said that the best fast is to fast from sin. Is/are there mortal sin(s) which you frequently commit that may be bringing you to the brink of loosing your soul? Using or selling drugs, fornicating, committing adultery, for example? If your conscience is still alive, you know what your grave sins are. It is God’s Will that you avoid these, confess them and make your life right with God.

    Let’s start today to give ourselves a spiritual check-up. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Let’s be determined that with God’s help we will make this the best Lent ever by praying more, by “fasting” in some way. Don’t forget alms-giving. God wants us to help those less fortunate than ourselves. More next week. God bless you!

Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

For past columns by Sister Lucy, see GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER Archives

March 2, 2001
volume 12, no. 61
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