Wednesday, February 25, 2009


As I sat down with a few quiet moments to write, I thought to myself, "I'm sure there is something better I should be doing with my time... like figuring out my Lenten sacrifice." For the past several years I have had such a hard time choosing a sacrifice that empties me of my self and draws me deeper into union with God. You know, the whole point of these 40 days of fasting and penance? Rather I seem to gravitate toward activities and deprivations that are more about corporal self-improvement; while that is certainly not useless, and can in a lot of instances lead to great spiritual growth, I think I miss out. I inevitably find myself on Monday of Holy Week feeling... unfulfilled. I reflect on the weeks gone by with a realization that I did not follow through, that I have not grown deeper in my prayer life, and I am no more worthy to celebrate Christ's Passion than I was on Ash Wednesday.

I read a "What Does the Prayer Really Say" post today, interpreting the Latin prayers for Ash Wednesday Liturgy. I encourage you to check it out, too. The words of the traditional Roman Catholic Mass prayers are so incredibly powerful, and the priest's explanations are worthwhile. The opening prayer refers to the Lenten journey as "doing battle against spiritual negligence." Wow, how many of you are that serious about your lenten sacrifices? I'll just have to quote the whole Super Oblata, it's so good.

Praying to You, O Lord,
we solemnly raise up the Sacrifice of the beginning of Lent,
so that through the exertions of the charity of penitence
we may abstain from harmful pleasures,
and, cleansed from sins,
we may be worthy to be dedicated
to celebrating the Passion of Your Son.

Well, between reading that and some prayer time at Mass this evening I have an idea of the direction of my Lenten Sacrifice. I pray this is a fruitful Lent for all of you, prayerful and focused on Christ's ultimate Sacrifice of Love.