Today I traveled to the beautiful and peaceful “Holy Hill” for a day of spiritual direction and reflection. Many things run through my mind while I sit before my spiritual direction session. The one major thing that sprang to mind while I sit in the Adoration Chapel at St. Meinrad praying a rosary was—WHAT AM I GOING TO DO FOR LENT…
This is a valid question that, even though should not have distracted me from my rosary or my time with God, I have not yet given much thought to. But with less than a month to go before we enter “those 40 days”, it is something that deserves attention. Luckily, I thought of this before joining my session; which I was then able to discuss briefly (I have many topics that I try and get clarity on during my sessions) with my director some things. So, what to do? What should I do? How should I focus my works on mercy? What should I fast (and fasting means MUCH MORE than merely not eating-it is an act of forgoing something)? How can I better prepare myself to walk a better life with Christ and come to better know God?
Then BINGO, or PRESTO, it came to mind. Non aver paura, devi solo credere! It made complete sense to me…. Be Not Afraid, simply believe…. These two phrases came together from Nola Eastwick (author of “The Big Secret to Unlocking the Power of God’s Word… Simply believe It!”) and my hero the Blessed St. Pope John Paul II “be Not Afraid.” As we enter any act of devotion or sacrifice; we should always do so without fear, or worry, or reservation. We should still begin it with a sense of love and honor for God. Thus, the comforting words of e Not Afraid and Simply Believe made perfect sense. I should not worry, but instead, believe that whatever I came to do would be of GREAT homage to our Lord and Savior.
As just as that sounds, I am still left with a great deal of confusion, or cloudiness, of what it is that I can do, or should do. There are the staples of sacrificing time to be spent in service to others, forgoing something that you are fond of doing to spend it in a time of reflection of what God has given us, or even to sacrifice parts of your time, talent, or treasure to benefit others (Don’t forget you Rice Bowls!!!). Everything sounds great, and each one of those is equally deserving of Lenten Sacrifices. But this year I think I have decided to do something that is a sacrifice for ME. Something that will, in the end, make me a better person in the long run to many people—I am going to being to spend time each even in the reflection of my day (which I do) but take it a step further and begin to journal about what is happening in me spiritually. How I feel when my day goes GREAT, and how I think when it is not so great.
See what is important to understand that fasting for Lent is not always about giving up your favorite food, or desserts, or a second helping, or fast food, or sodas… ALL OF THOSE ARE GREAT THINGS TO GIVE UP! But ultimately Lent is a time of fasting to better yourself for preparation with God and your eventual encounter with Christ. Being able to give up the time to reflect, meditate and write about what God has done for you that day; as well as ultimately how you feel because of it, is one of the GREATEST fasting events that you can make! So, I will not be afraid, I will simply believe that God has called upon me to do many great things and that through his will and recognizing the gifts that he has given to me; I will ultimately become a servant fully devoted to the mission of God and an active Disciple of Christ—There is no better sacrifice!
What will you do for Lent? I love hearing how others are preparing themselves for the season of sacrifice. But in the end let us all remember to “BE NOT AFRAID, SIMPLY BELIEVE.”
Lawrence V. McCrobie
ps…enjoy these pictures of St. Meinrad Archabbey on this 16th Day of January 2018!