I’ve decided to give up blogging for Lent.
Just kidding. I could never go that long without sharing the spiritual musings that take up residence in my mind constantly. I do feel bad though, it seems the people closest to me have become paranoid of my blogs. They have a real fear of becoming the subject of one. Just last week, after a lengthy conversation with my daughter she said, “Now don’t put that in your next blog.”
My Lenten deprivations have slowly morphed from being all about giving up something food related to giving up something I do that hurts me and/or those around me. This year I am trying to give up that 4:00 bowl of anything salty I can get my hands on but I have also taken a good look at where I don’t take sin seriously in my life. I ask myself, what should I give up that is harming me and taking me farther away from the abundant life God wants for me? A life filled with his love and grace.
In his book, I Thirst, Joseph Langford M.C. talks about the spiritual problem of lukewarmness or tepidity of soul. He defines it as “the state in which we make no authentic effort to escape the patterns of venial sin that we have developed.” He goes on to list the telltale signs of lukewarmness: lax conscience, praying seldom and without much attention, quick to defend ourselves and slow to accuse ourselves, no eagerness for receiving the sacraments, intemperance in food and drink, content to gossip and criticize others, hold on to resentments and injuries without seriously trying to forgive.
These examples gave me plenty of options for my Lenten resolve to give up what is harming me or others. It’s humbling to admit my lukewarmness. That is what we are called to do during Lent. To take a look at our sinfulness. Keeping in mind, the wideness of God’s mercy and the love that is waiting to comfort and heal as we reveal our sadness at our failures and ask for forgiveness.
My granddaughter, Harper, made her First Reconciliation last week. She called me shortly after, as she was enjoying her post-confession frosty from Wendy’s, and told me she really did feel “lighter“ after and then proceeded to recite the Act of Contrition without skipping a word. I couldn’t help but smile and I pictured Jesus smiling too, at her first cry of repentance. Her tender gesture of trust and confidence in His promise to forgive her and love her forever.
Every Lent we are called to repentance. We are called, not to become perfect, but to become more aware of and sorry for our lukewarmness.
Let’s ask God for the grace to take our souls from lukewarm to on fire this Lent. Let’s learn from Harper, the joy and the lightness in a tender gesture of trust and confidence in Jesus words. Let’s have a frosty from Wendy’s to celebrate.
It’s not salty, so I’m in!
The depth of our sorrow and repentance
will be the depth of our conversion,
of our love and sanctity.
Joseph Langford M.C.
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