Friday, February 12, 2016

Well, it’s Lent again.

Who has a stronger conflict than he who strives to overcome himself? – Thomas à Kempis

Well, it’s Lent again.

Every year it’s the same thing. Christmas is over and I’m constantly thinking about how far away Lent is.
I always think to myself how the season of Lent is so spiritually benefiting to me.
How wonderful it is. How valuable it is.
And I’m always glad…it’s weeks away.
I think it’s often hard to transition from the spirit of Christmas, to a spirit of penance.
But the reality is, that if you do practice Lent, in the spirit it is intended to be practiced, it’s certainly not easy. But of course, I don’t think it’s supposed to be.
Lent is a time to meditate on the Passion of Our Lord – to think about how much He has given for us – everything.  It is a time for us to look into ourselves and think what we can offer back to Him.  Especially the attempt to overcome things inside us that are not very nice – a time to put into practice a new virtue.

Through Lent, we reflect on the life of Jesus, and through Him, we take a deeper look into our own lives.

It’s a time to make an honest assessment of where we are on our path (and some times struggle) for holiness.
Throughout my 10 years of being Catholic, I have given up various things for Lent, including coffee, alcohol, movies, news, Facebook, restaurants, time out with friends, and certain foods.
I have also given up other things that often seem to come easy to me. Like discussing others behind their backs, complaining, being ‘worst case scenario’, defensive…and more things like this.
And each year I’ll add things as well. Like spiritual reading, being nice to people that I don’t want to be nice to, smiling more, being more patient, listening more, being more charitable…i.e. things that do not come natural to me.
And after years of giving up things and adding certain penances during Lent,  my understanding of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us has grown deeper and deeper, resulting in a deeper gratitude to Our Lord and greater changes within me.

When you think about it, Lent is kind of like a Spring cleaning, but for the soul.

This year, I have added another thing too. Saying a prayer called “The Litany of Humility” each day…preferably at the start of my day. I am hoping that any pride I have about myself and my own abilities I can keep in check during this season of Lent, and beyond.
I am including the prayer, hoping that it may help you too. God bless us this Lent, and every Lent. May we all live for God and our neighbors more, and for ourselves less.

Litany of Humility

This prayer was composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See under Pope Saint Pius X.  
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Hear me. 
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, O Jesus. 
From the desire of being loved,
Deliver me, O Jesus. 
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, O Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Amen.

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