Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lent: Spiritual and the Physical Needs

TBM Topic #39: Lent

At Ash Wednesday service, Father spoke about Lent being a time of positive change, not just avoiding sweets. I really took this to heart, as no sweets + {spiritual discipline} is my go-to Lenten offering.

This year, I am going in a different path: discipline.

Oh, how I need more discipline! I am distracted and focused and productive, but not disciplined. I am working on discipline because it is accountability. It is understanding that I am responsible for me. It is me taking care of me (with the help of others, mainly Will and God); it is acknowledging my weakness and offering it all up to Christ, who is the only one who gives me the grace and strength I need each day.

My Lenten Disciplines
  • Confession every two weeks (minimum)
  • Rosary every night with Will
  • Forgiving a person who hurt me in the past
  • Bed by 11 p.m.
  • Exercise 3x/ week (minimum)
First, the spiritual disciplines:

Confession and rosary are two spiritual disciplines we (as a couple and as a family) have been trying to do more often, and Lent is providing a wonderful opportunity for us to be more serious about it. We usually combine a nice long walk with saying the rosary, which helps with the weekly exercise goal too.

In addition to the rosary, I like using Scripture for a deeper and more meditative prayer. For Christmas, my father gave all of his kids a small book entitled The Scriptural Rosary: A Modern Version of the Way the Rosary was Once Prayed Throughout Western Europe in the Late Middle Ages and it gorgeous. {My dad bought it at the local Catholic book store - the link works too.}

Forgiveness of said person is the one only I can solve with Christ. I have verbalized it to that person (not always the answer for difficult situations, but it was appropriate for this one), and from there, I learn to let go and forgive so that this life is not filled with the regret that anger and grudges often weighs heavily against the grudger more than the accused.

By victimizing one's circumstances, even if justified, it can cripple one's ability to truly experience life. There will still be hurts and disappointments, but there will also be more causes for joy and love. It is about switching one's mindset from victim to survivor. It is about meaning the words when I pray "and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

I can say that, while all is not solved, Christ has already given me so much peace in my heart that was certainly not there before; he has given me a second chance at a better relationship with said person and him too, whose love I was not fully accepting because my anger kept me at bay. Since letting go, I am freer. I am happier. I am more at peace. I wish this for all struggling to forgive, or feel forgiven.

'Tis grace that brought me safe thus far/ And grace will lead me home.

Now, physical discipline:

I really struggle in these areas. Tell me not to eat that cookie, fine. Mastered.

But bed by 11 p.m.?

Yeah, that has hardly happened yet. I get so excited at Grace being asleep that I do ALL THE THINGS!!! Nonetheless, Will's been giving me the "sleep when your baby sleeps" speech, because I am a mess in the morning. We are moving into sleep training, but once 5 a.m. hits, all bets are off. Grace is so happy to be alive and is ready to groove. I am staring at her through bleary eyes because I stayed up too late.

Tonight is another night, right?

Grace in the morning. So happy and ready to go!
Which moves me into exercise... one reason I stay up is because I have all my energy at night, and the horrible staying up cycle continues. I love being active; I hate feeling like I am out of shape or too tired to even go on a walk. I try to keep up with postpartum exercise videos, but it's so beautiful outside, and I want to get more cardio. I am currently using the Couch to 5k app, and that is a wonderful motivator for me. I've been given a glorious body, and I would hate to waste it and all its potential because I do not make its upkeep a priority.

The quote for last night's walk/run was "The longest journey begins with a small step taken by a brave person."

That is what Lent is: a small step towards our longer life journey. Lent is not about getting beach-bod ready or other external fixes; it's about internal. It's a way of the cross. It's taking up our own cross. It's saying, These are my human weaknesses, Jesus (as you already know): I acknowledge them, and I offer them up to you during these 40 days.


Join the Bright Maidens on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! Let us know what you are doing this Lent!


Bonus discipline: being careful with our food budget, and giving the saved funds to the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl Fund! Look for the small things you can do in your life, not the big motions. Giving $20 is better than giving nothing because you cannot give hundreds of dollars.

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