lenten feels

Do you talk to your Self?

I mostly write to mine!

Giggles.

My journals are filled with articles, statements, or comments that I collect and piece together for a personal reflection, or chat-session.

Some are short.

Some are therapeutic.

Some are silly.

Some I delve in deep.

And some….may be a necessary private rant!

Below are bits & pieces of a former March chat that I found, while revisiting some older journals.

I’ve decided to finally finish the conversation …

feel free to chat back!

Dear Dm,

Remember Lent is a time to practice gratitude and humility in response to God’s outpouring of love and mercy for all! 

That love was demonstrated in the ultimate sacrifice anyone could make, giving one’s life for another.  

Jesus did this for all humanity in his crucifixion on the cross to fulfill the promise of salvation in His glorious Resurrection.

During Lent, we begin a journey of repentance in which we strive, in spite of all of our human frailties and failings, to become all that God wants for each of us, earned through his sacrificial love.  Lent is a challenge to open our hearts to God’s will for our lives; to open our minds to the Truth of his Word; and to open our eyes to a vision of hope and in seeing the needs of others.   This is a time for applying deliberate effort, exercising discipline, and making sacrifices.  

The usual means is through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.   These require action and selective use of our time in various ways. 

Have I given Him the time He deserves?

The church guides our path by setting minimum rules for abstinence and fasting as Lent begins.   We are given more opportunities for confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation) and for community prayer in Lenten services.  Of course, we can make changes in other ways, such as setting aside more time away from the distractions and noise that consume our every minute.  Whatever we do, and if we falter, we never lose God’s invitation to keep trying.

Have I been willing to take His outstretched hand?

The first day of Lent (and Good Friday) is one of strict fast in which the consumption of meat is not allowed.  Catholics are required to abstain from meat on each subsequent Friday throughout the remainder of Lent. Faithful are encouraged to expand fasting throughout Lent if possible, though not mandatory. 

However, we are reminded that giving up (anything) during Lent is merely an exercise, if not practiced with spiritual intention. 

Our fasting is a discipline that enables us to make choices. 

Are my choices most pleasing to Him?

Through fasting we find we do have the ability to delay gratification, focus our priorities, and become more attuned to things beyond our immediate desires.  It is less about giving up than exchanging old patterns for new beneficial ones, less about food & vice than about understanding God’s plan for each of us and following his will.

Have I remained open to His plan?

Preceding Lent, the Gospel readings remind us of how we are to act during this holy season in our Church calendar.   We read in Matthew 6:14-21 that when we pray, we are to pray in private as Jesus then follows with teaching his disciples the “Our Father”.   And He tells us in our fasting we are not to change our appearance so that everyone knows we are fasting;  and finally that we are to make it a practice to store up heavenly treasure, as Jesus says: “where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matthew 6:21).   We also hear the message of St. Paul that begins with Romans 13: 11-14: 4.  Reading beyond those passages, St. Paul reminds us that our abstinence should not become a stumbling block for ourselves or a reason to judge others.   Instead, St. Paul states “Let us, then, make it our aim to work for peace and to strengthen one another.” (Romans 13: 19).  This reminds us that each of us are weak in different ways.   And so in our own conscience we need to reflect, focus and work on our own failings, and not others. 

Do I reflect enough on the GOOD in others?

For this reason, the Church gives us the healing Mystery of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  During this time of Lent, we are fervently invited to benefit by going to confession one-to-one with a priest, who acts in the persona of Christ.  This is the same power to forgive sins that Christ gave to his apostles (John 20: 22-23).   Even if we have not experienced the healing power of Confession in a while, we find comfort knowing the Father, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, welcomes us with open arms.

Lord I pray all, especially those whom I love, will come home to you. May they come to know, to love, and desire to serve you above all other things.

The final week before Easter is known as Holy Week. 

It is considered a separate time apart from the previous 40 days of Lent.

During Holy Week there is an elevated intensity each day with a different focus.

Holy Week is an extraordinary week in Churches because it brings our Christian faith to a climax!  REMEMBER, we are given this time to make changes in our lives so we can fully celebrate our joy in our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Jesus!

Love you,

Me

Revisiting my journals has been enlightening.

And not always, but this (2021) Lent has been a blessed 40 days for me!

As a consequence, as I enter-into Holy week, I am planning my own Great Fast! I will unplug from all Social Media, increase my attention, and place myself wherever He calls me to be within the Passion narrative amidst minimal distraction.

I look forward to discovering whether I will be in the garden of Gethsemane? Will I be in the crowded streets agonizing over His journey with the cross? Will I be on the hill sharing the distress alongside the blessed mother? Or will I be in the upper room tidying up from the last supper?

I don’t know.

But I do know wherever He will place me this Easter; it is for a purpose, because there is always a lesson He needs me to learn.

And I am already grateful!

hugs n’ Easter blessings for all the ways you will learn of His great love for you and the depths He will go to show you!

*I can’t wait to hear what you will say, when He does!

splish-splash

I washed my car today.

Anytime I work on my car, interiorly or exteriorly, I always think of my dad.

He was an auto-body mechanic.

He was most respected for & specialized in exterior repair.

For a short period of time he owned his own automotive Garage:

Wally’s Auto-Body Shop!

Sometimes, (but not often,) my mom would let me hang-out at the Garage with dad.

I can still smell the primer, auto-grease and the over-spray of new car paint.

One day, while I was hanging around the shop, he taught me how to bondo!

Not many people know this but I actually was quite good at it.

My first car was an AMC Pacer that I purchased for $100.
Needless to say, it needed LOTS of bondo!!

My dad use to say, “the trick with bondo was to have just the right amount of confidence to push the putty around, but a light enough touch to end up with a smooth coat.”

I loved when he allowed me to work with bondo & often pretended I was a sculptor!

After doing it a few times with several disastrous attempts; he told me with surprising pride, “You’ve got the right touch. Now, stop staring & start sanding!”

Giggles.

I still remember how special that made me feel in his eyes.

There were not many such moments between my dad & I – our relationship was rather messy – but I suppose that is why he comes to mind each time I’m cleaning my car.

Just like the car dust, sticky grandchildren finger-prints, and any candy wrappers on the floor I’ve wiped up & thrown away – so too – the “mess” between my father & I has been equally discarded.

My faith has helped me to do that.

And the brave testimony’s of other people’s journey too.

The things they’ve learned and the kindness they have shown when taking the time to share about their own “messiness” is consoling.

We often find hope as we discover we’re not alone in our “mess” -that others have cleaned up, patched things together, sanded things down and been made new again, too.

This weekend I imagine I will have the opportunity to clean-up even more, as I attend the 138 Women’s Conference being hosted in my Diocese.

Two dynamic women will be speaking and there is no doubt I will discover something the Lord wishes me to improve – to push & smooth & sand my Spirit just a little bit more.

I know I will bee 🐝 made New in some manner, because the Lord’s got just the right touch to move through the words these wonderful ladies will be speaking.

And I can’t wait to hear how proud my Father in heaven will be…both of them.

hugs n’ blessings for the ways you are sculpting your life to be!

what’s it worth?

Beginnings are usually scary

and endings are usually sad,

but it’s everything in between that makes it

all worth living.

Hope Floats

Continue reading “what’s it worth?”