Monday, February 18, 2013

Why a Failing Lent Really Isn't

                                                       


Keep Love in Lent:

Why a Failing Lent Really Isn't


     An honest, no-frills Lenten voyage:
     Burying of the AlleluiaDwelling in Scripture in addition to well chosen literature during the season. 

     For the reading is not just reading. It is Jesus. 


      Illuminating the twelve votive candles for our Friday evening family Stations of the Cross devotion. 
        Living simply. Trying to, anyway.
       Our children are building their faith as they spend time with crafts, literature and prayer on our journey through Lent toward the joy of Easter.  Then there’s the giving up. Following through on this….  makes me want to, well, give up. Which makes me wonder: Who am I following, really?
     
      Which,  I’d say, is the point.
      
      My family has long term, anticipatory plans on Shrove Tuesday. Don’t we all begin, of course, with The Ash Wednesday Clean Slate?  
     Now, though? A week in?   Husband and kids are doing well. They’ll continue to do well. Sticking to their sacrifices. For the most part.  I know they will. Me?   Mostly I stray. And mostly,  I am proud of the loves of my life who subscribe to the “real-men-do” philosophy: Real men do say the rosary. Real men do depend on  scripture and fasting and  repentance.
      Like entering the desert of our souls. Like walking with Jesus into the dark, unrelenting wilderness for forty days. Like becoming aware of our ragged spirits and begging mercy for the dark night of our souls.
     Is Lent about forming and renewing? Or forfeiting? Is one more important than the other? And what does it say about me that I just can’t stick with what I planned to renounce?  Possibly that I need to empty the soul more to know the filling of God? The love of God?  And possibly, that a failing Lent really isn’t --  once I come to this realization?
     My oldest offhandedly commented on Ash Wednesday that he
s-h-o-u-l-d give up his habit of complaining. “But,” he claims, “Giving up sweets is just so much easier, you know?”
      Hmmmmm. Forgoing treats is just plain simpler than addressing the struggle with the internal. With ridding one’s self of the difficult day – to - day struggle with the devil.

 Coming face to  ugly face, with sin. 

      Does the emptying of the soul, the cleansing through the grace of confession, come only when we know how empty we truly are?  
      May we each, in our Lenten journeys,  rediscover the beauty in our relationships with one another, as we reflect on this precious gift of renewal and rebirth. And love.





                                          Sharing an Easter shot from a few years ago: 2009



Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
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I'd love to stay in touch regularly.

Until next time,

~Chris




40 comments:

  1. Beautiful!.I enjoyed reading your post. It's amazing that our young children can already see the difference of what a true sacrifice is.
    God Bless

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, friend...yes it IS amazing that they can discern the difference! Great point.
      Loved your post today for the Keep Love in Lent hops as well..very inspiring, Monica:)
      xo
      Thanks for commenting:)
      Have a lovely day

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  2. I really enjoyed this post! I myself struggle with "giving something up" each Lent, because it seems hardly enough of a sacrifice.

    Thank you for the reminder that a failing Lent... isn't. Such truth in that small little phrase, and yet, so hard for me to remember!!

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    Replies
    1. Amy~
      True, there IS such truth in that small phrase, right?
      Thank you, friend, for stopping in to read my reflection and taking the time to comment. And YOUR thought strikes a chord with me....it truly doesn't seem like "enough" to simply give something up. True.
      Looking forward to clicking to your blog today and enjoying your writings.
      Have a lovely day.
      God bless, friend.
      xo

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  3. Your thirteen year old IS very wise! It IS easier to go without sweets, though, that is not really very easy either. But, those habits and vices that we struggle with are SO much harder to overcome.

    I think you are just as wise as your son in saying that what matters most in Lent is that we come to rely on the love of God more fully. And that if we can do that- we have not failed in Lent at all.

    Thanks for sharing your reflections!

    Blessings to you and your family.

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    Replies
    1. Kari-
      Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to comment~
      Well, what a beautiful comment and compliment, Kari...yes relying on the Lord's love in our journeys...thank God for that.
      Have a wonderful day, Kari.
      God bless
      xo

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  4. I am speechless at what you wrote about about walking with Jesus into the dark, unrelenting wilderness. Becoming aware of our ragged spirits, and begging mercy for the dark night of our souls. This is precisely what I've felt about my own Lent this year. And you wrote it so well.

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    1. Nancy
      Your comment made my night! Thank you so very much for stopping in to read my reflection post. Your words are very kind and very appreciated~
      I'm honored that you see your feelings expressed here...that's very gratifying to me as a writer, as I'm sure you know....Comforting though, that we do have Jesus with us, thank God, in our Lenten journey..

      I am eagerly anticipating clicking over to your blog to read your Lenten thoughts!
      Thank you for your kindness and for taking the time to comment, Nancy.
      God bless
      xo

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  5. I had to come visit YOU since ours seem to be the only two titles about failing Lent!

    I love what your son said. Out of the mouths of babes . . . Maybe next year he'll be ready to pull the trigger on the tougher one.

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    Replies
    1. Kendra,
      I'm thrilled that you stopped by to comment!
      I am looking forward to reading your blog tomorrow; today has been one heck of a day....thank you so very much for the kind words and for taking the time to stop in, friend.:)
      ~Chris
      xo

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  6. I agree failing Lent really isn't. We can't be discouraged or we may give up all together, right? For me I just think to unite the regular hard stuff that life brings my way with part of my Lenten Journey- the flu, my husband being deployed, and so on.Also remaining repentant on the areas of life that need work. Then I still find the joy in all this because Jesus is there. Have a Blessed Lent!

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    1. Wow, love that idea of uniting "the hard stuff" on the Lenten journey...Thanks for that inspiration and for taking the time to stop and comment, Stephanie.
      God bless you and your family...

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  7. With five (ok, four that can have a say), one of them is usually asking to "do" something...can we say a rosary, visit church, go to Mass?(and, yes, most of the rest are usually saying NOOOO!) ;0)
    Ignoring the rest, I take my cue from the one who is currently working with The Holy Spirit and that's what we do. Surprisingly, it's gotten us along fairly well this far.

    God bless!

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    Replies
    1. Terrific thought! Love the fact that you "take your cue from the one working with the Holy Spirit!" What a brilliant idea.
      Thanks for that beautiful piece of wisdom and thank you for stopping here to read and comment !I so appreciate that....
      have a lovely day!
      God bless
      Chris

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  8. I am so grateful to be part of a family that also all take Lent seriously. It is so good to have that support system when we do/want to stray. We always look forward to burying our Alle****s each Shrove Tuesday. Well, that and eating our Paczki's :)

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    Replies
    1. Laura
      So true about the support! So true! Love that. And you know what, I tend to take that for granted. I needed that reminder.
      Thank you for the tip and for taking the time to read and comment.
      Have a lovely day and very blessed Lenten season.

      ~Chris

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  9. Hi Chris! Sometimes it's nice to see things from the eyes of a child. Sometimes, when coming up with lists of sacrifices for Lent, I wonder "what's the point of all of this?" But then, I agree that it is the time for rebirth and rediscovering the beauty in our relationships with one another. Thanks for sharing! :) Love ~ Ginger

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    1. Ginger!
      Thanks for taking the time to red and comment! I so appreciate that.
      Yes, I agree....how they think is quite interesting and very enriching! We learn something all the time from them, don't we?
      God bless...

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  10. I really enjoyed your post so much (and read your G.K. Chesterton quote from your blog header aloud to my hubby who is a huge fan and of course he loved it!). Have a blessed Lent!

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    1. Thank you, Susan!
      I have to admit that I recently became a GCK fan since I am blessed to be surrounded by such faith-filled friends....He is a gem, isn't he?
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Susan.
      Have a lovely day
      xo

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  11. I agree with your son. Giving up sweets is so much easier! But I don't want to stop there this Lent. So though I struggle everyday to be "slow to anger, abounding in kindness and relenting in punishment," I still choose to struggle and offer my struggles, including my failures to Jesus on the cross. I know deep in my heart that God sees beyond our failures to keep our promises or to stick to our plans. He calls us more to faithfulness anyway, not just success.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Teresa,
      Yes, so agree..I needed that inspiration, Teresa..Thanks for the quote and sharing your wisdom and sacrifice struggles....
      SO true, so true, that He calls us to faithfulness, not just success!
      THANK YOU!

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  12. Love your blog, It's casual on the first look, but serious as I go deeper. Kind of like how some people appears as a casual, everyday acquaintance until we see what they really are-the image of God.

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    1. Isn't that a lovely comment...thank you so very much, Nancy. That made my day....

      God bless you and your family this Lenten season.:)

      xoxoxo

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  13. What sweet boys. I thought the same, is it really about giving up things or just doing more and as your son said, its easier to give up sweets than to do more. Great post. Thanks for sharing with us.

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    1. Thank you, Cecilia, for sharing your thoughts----
      Yes, IS it really about the giving up or the doing more? Great thought....

      God bless.

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  14. "Does the emptying of the soul, the cleansing through the grace of confession, come only when we know how empty we truly are?"

    A good question worth reflecting on! The duality of emptiness which you present in that particular phrase is so deep and true at the same time. You gave me something to ponder on for this lenten season. Thank you.

    Blessings.

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    Replies
    1. Well, thank you so much for that!
      I appreciate your taking the time to stop in, read and comment.
      Your thought really made my night...
      God bless....

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  15. Thanks, Chris. A thoughtful post! I like how your son recognized how difficult giving up complaining would be. Wow...giving up sweets and munchies AND giving up complaining about it ...seems darn near impossible! Lent just makes me see how weak I am.

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    1. Oh Monica, I so agree...
      Awareness of just how weak...too true.
      Thank you so much for commenting.

      God bless

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  16. You write so beautifully, Chris. I loved how you phrased that we "need to empty the soul more to know the filling of God". If I listed all the phrases that I loved in your post, most of your post would be repeated here. Thank you for your poetic words and true sentiments, and a blessed Lent to you and your loved ones.

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  17. This is perhaps one of the first years too that God is peeling away another layer of scabs in me (as in the Narnia adventures, where the boy turns into a dragon and must wash himself over and over till the scabs come off). Your post reminds me of this- that to give up sweets or coffee isn't necessarily bad, it just may not deal with the deeper internal. To see the daily struggle we have with the devil each day. Now that is something to ponder. Thank you for your writing! God Bless you in this season of Lent.

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  18. I totally agree, we can never really 'fail' Lent! Love your beautifully written reflection.

    At our church we are reading an interesting book this Lent called "A Place at the Table" and fasting as a community. We are using a blog to encourage each other and share thoughts, http://cotsfastsandfeasts.blogspot.com/ Many families are participating and it's interesting to see the variety of ways folks are practicing Lent this year. I love to hear about everyone's experiences, especially the children and teens. Loved hearing what your teen said! Isn't it great when you see them growing up and into their faith!

    Blessings on your family this Lent!

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  19. Excellent insights. You have a wonderful mastering of language. My attitude toward Lent is very similar to yours in that I realized that heroic acts put my focus on myself but embracing my weakness puts my focus on Jesus and His saving power at work in me, trusting that His power will see the work he started completed, Melanie's version of Phillipians

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  20. Hi Chris - I finally got a minute to finish my post so I could link-up! I love this post. Thank you for inviting me to link up even though I am not Catholic. I have really been thinking a lot more about Lent this week as a result and I have gained some insight and inspiration. Thank you again and have a great week!

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    1. I'm So very happy you joined in, Deb!!

      I have learned SO very much as well from my friends' thoughts, tips and posts....it's been amazing!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!~

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  21. Oh, the need for grace! Thank you for your encouraging post. Looking forward to reading more in the coming days.

    So glad you are joining us as we Seek Him this season.

    Blessings,
    Trish

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    1. Trisha~
      Aw, well, thank YOU for stopping by, reading and leaving a lovely comment!

      Delete
  22. This was another of the most viewed posts in my Lenten Linkup so far and will be featured in Day 4 tomorrow! :-)

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    1. Thank you, friend, for clicking over to bring the good news....and for hosting!

      Delete

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