Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent - What Are You Giving up?

What are you giving up for Lent?  It's a question that you may hear a lot in the next few days as Lent begins today.

I was reading an article on Lent the other day that made me take a step back.  It basically said if you want to change your body, you might want to give up wine, candy, coffee...  But if you want to change your heart, a bigger fast is needed.

Pope Francis in his annual Lenten message wrote "indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians.  Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience." We tend to focus too much on ourselves and forget about others.  He called this the globalization of indifference.  

He also said "whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.  God's voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt and the desire to do good fades.  We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this was someone else's responsibility and not our own."

If we choose to fast from this indifference, turn this Lenten season away from ourselves, and focus on the compassion, the poor and the desire to help others, then we will learn how to truly love as Christ loves us.  The fast in turn becomes the feast.

So this Lenten season,  I am going to fast on the indifference towards others.  When my focus falls back on myself, I will heed the powerful hymnal words knowing that "it is well with my soul". I will remind myself that everything is well with me.....and I will turn the focus back on my fast.  I think I will be singing this hymn quite a bit this month....  :)

"when peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, though has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul."  ~ horatio spafford

I hope you have a fabulous Wednesday and a wonderful Lenten season.