The Journey Begins

Lent

Come back to me with all your heart.
Don’t let fear keep us apart.
Trees do bend though straight and tall;
so must we to others’ call.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life.

The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak.
Integrity and justice with tenderness you shall know.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life.

You shall sleep secure with peace;
faithfulness will be your joy.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life.

Gosh, I could listen to “Hosea” all day long. Nothing like hearing an entire congregation sing together words so simple, yet resounding. I have the same feelings when “Immaculate Mary” and “One Bread, One Body” are played as well. All afternoon, I have found myself reflecting back on the chorus: Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life. Chills, what a message.

This post had me struggling to organize my thoughts yesterday. Too many thoughts and emotions about the next seven weeks. I could have written this ten different ways, so choosing one was mighty difficult. But I digress.

Truly one of my most favorite times of the year: Lent. The season of reflection; however, not a journey of perfection. In yesterday’s sermon at Our Lady of Guadalupe, the priest’s point was we have one life to live, and if we get caught up in the pursuit of perfection, have we not lost out on the precious time we have here. Traditionally, Lenten practices are prayerfasting, and almsgiving.

Ash WednesdayWe are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:20

A couple of years ago, I made it a point during Lent to memorize “Hail, Holy Queen.” Every morning, thanks to a CD my godmother gave me, I would play the track with this prayer on it. And then I would re-play it, then re-play it, and then re-play it yet again. I am quite surprised that CD didn’t wear out on me! Oh how great it felt to be able to recite those words confidently at the next rosary or be able to say them to myself during times of discomfort.

Then last year, I decided to pray the rosary every day. At the time, I thought this was drastic and a somewhat impossible feat. Yet the Lord proved me wrong. There were a few days missed, although I made it a point to make up those rosaries. But my appreciation for the Holy Rosary grew immensely. Twenty minutes a day. They were 20 minutes on my drive to work or drive back home, or 20 minutes as I walked around the building at lunch or on a break. I did some hunting on Amazon and found a pamphlet, called “Let’s Pray (Not Just Say) the Rosary,” to act as a supplement and I absolutely loved it! Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that on our family vacation to the beach this past summer, at sunrise I prayed the rosary using this book with my Grandpa, Grandma and Granny. Kind of wish I would have gotten a picture of us four, sitting around the table with our morning cups of coffee and rosaries in hand. Definitely a special morning I will always cherish.

Long story, short, in these two mentioned Lenten seasons alone, prayer became a priority in my life. Sure, I struggle daily with prayer, making the time and valuing that relationship. But step one is the effort.

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.
MATTHEW 6:17-18

Fasting has always been a tough part of Lent for me. At times, my memory is sub-par at best. So Fridays in the past, I have caught myself midway through a burger before realizing my mistake. And on the other hand, I don’t really drink sodas, have a sweet tooth, or eat out often, so finding something to give up has always been a challenge. I guess I could have always said I was giving up soda, but if it comes too easily wouldn’t I be missing the point? With the help of my youngest sister, I decided to look at fasting from a different angle. What about giving up certain activities. For instance, watching my favorite vloggers on YouTube and SnapChat (an app that quickly can take over your quiet time) to name a few. Setting aside a few of these activities, foods, and material objects, for 40+ days and rather  replacing them with moments of prayer and devotion.

JustLovePrints - Pope FrancisA few days ago, I listened to a Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast on my lunch break that immediately had me adding something to my to-do list for Lent. The two priests discussed appropriate dress for church. It was interesting to hear their take and although I understand phrases like your Sunday best, I never put more thought into my physical preparation for church each week. Therefore, while I may not be dressing in a suit like they mention, I’ll be making sure to up my game so to speak, being fully awake, prepared for thought and dressed for God. By the way, highly recommend their podcasts. Definitely great supplements to your week!

Also on my to-do list, adding two religious/spiritual books to be read before Easter. If you have any suggestions, please pass them my way! I have already picked out Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn to read, no surprise there! You’ll see a review in weeks to come on my next Reading Challenge update!

 

 

Links I would recommend checking into:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
CatholiCity
Catholic Stuff You Should Know
The Catholic Company
Dynamic Catholic

Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on Lent!

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2 thoughts on “The Journey Begins

  1. Anonymous

    Alyx, you out did yourself. This is a great great Blob. Love it. Grandma T.

    1. sheerheart

      Thanks Grandma!

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