Tag Archive: Lent


Spiritual But Not Religious, Really?

I meet so many young adults who are “spiritual but not religious.” What does that mean? It is like saying I love coffee but I don’t drink it. I love to experience nature but I don’t leave my house. I love God….but I can’t imagine actually going to church and worshiping him.

What we keep in our heads ONLY, what we keep in our hearts ONLY, what we keep private and between me and Jesus ONLY; is NOT faith at all. It is laziness. Sound harsh? It may be.  But let me put something out there for you to think about.

Faith requires action!

God is faithful. God is always at work in his creation and with his children. ALWAYS! What’s our problem? If God kept his faith to himself, it would be a very bleak and dark world.

Faith requires action!

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18)

Spiritual but not religious is a cop out.

Our world is degrading morally at an increasing rate. Imagine if those who claim to be Christian actually lived their faith out loud, fed the poor, clothed the naked, spoke openly with love about Jesus Christ, shared how God works in their lives AND worshiped together weekly.

Imagine!

Listening to Christian songs, getting a big tattoo of a cross on your body, claiming Christianity without actually living Christianity is one thing. Doing Christianity is quite another. Its messy. It requires an integrity of word and deed, it requires courage in the face of a world that screams “keep it to yourself!”

The world will change for the better when we Christians are authentically following Christ. When we are not hypocrites and privately hiding Jesus from the world. Nine out of ten couples I meet do not even pray together. They don’t talk about their faith to each other, they don’t practice their faith.

Lent is a great time to practice that faith you have forgotten about, ignored or hidden away. If you only know a little bit ABOUT Jesus, but you don’t KNOW Jesus it may be more difficult. Prayer is a great place to begin.

God is always listening, always reaching out to us, always waiting to have a relationship with each of us. Simply say, “God, I want you to come and wrap your love around me. I want you to show me who you are, what your plans are for me, and the wonderful relationship we can have together.” That’s all. Say it everyday. Heck, say it a hundred times a day!

Your life will begin to change in a wonderfully surprising way. I promise. Be diligent, hopeful, expectant! This great little clip speaks more about prayer in context of the mass and how you can begin to live that faith out loud with others.

 

What’s the Deal With Lent?

What’s the big deal anyway with Lent? Why does it matter, isn’t that pa-say, old school, a practice best left in the Dark Ages? What ever difference does it make to give up chocolate, or candy or beer or coffee? How will that make the world a better place? How will that feed starving children, cure the sick, or fill the churches?

Lent is about me and you personally. It is about looking inside myself and seeing what attachments have become obstacles to my relationship with God and my growth in holiness. It is an inward glance that should be penetrating, honest, and intentional.

WHY?

Because when we each individually take the time to do this, and do it really well; we can begin to see where our faults have become our failings.

“Failings?”Seriously?

Failure to love properly and without limit in imitation of God.

Failure to see that we are interconnected as the One Body of Christ, meaning what I do and do not do affects us ALL.

Failure to realize that this is the journey of a lifetime in preparation for eternal destinations. Heaven and hell decisions are made right here.

Failure to see my hungry, hurting, brother or sister as I busy myself with me, myself, and I.

Need I go on?

This is a time that is a gift given by the Church, if we use it properly to reflect, to change to begin anew.

Yes, I have failed miserably in the past. Lents have come and gone. I have remained the same. It is good to know that I am given lots of opportunities to turn back, reach out, and start again. I invite you to do the same.

Many organizations are offering ways this Lent to help us grow. See if there is something here that might benefit you in your journey to holiness this Lent.

Matthew Kelly: Dynamic Catholic

Sharing Jesus on social media, 2 minute videos to share, sent to your email: #ShareJesus

Daily quotes and beautiful images: Daily Lenten E-Spiration

40 Day Spiritual Workout, Bob Rice

I know there is much more to offer but here is a great start.

Make this Lent count! Grow in love! Grow in holiness! Change the world, by starting with yourself!

 

Everything New

Driving down the road yesterday I couldn’t help but notice the brilliance of the colors as they exploded in the morning sunlight. The San Diego Reds were on fire, the Palo Verde burst forth green and yellow buds, even the normally dull grey mountains seemed to stretch forth towards the heavens. Everything seemed lighter, more animated somehow.

Spring is here and each day is a new beginning. To be honest, each moment is a new beginning, a fresh start a renewed hope. We can begin again in Lent, start anew, and let all that we are meant to be move in the direction towards that end.

I had a chance to look at the Christmas family pictures the other day and was amazing at the girth of my being. When did all that generous poundage apply itself to my midsection? I know it did not happen over night, rather over years of stuffing whatever I want into my mouth without a second thought. It is one thing to look at myself in the mirror disgusted, cram myself into clothes that are clearly not going to stretch over the canvas of my current self; but looking at photos illuminates reality no matter how I cover it up in the now. I do not seek to be a bikini model, or a competitor in the fitness circuit. I simply want to finally be, the best healthy me I was meant to be.

I want to stick around for the future of my kids, and grand-kids. This week two of our sons got engaged. How fun! Our family is growing. One of the greatest ways we can be good stewards of the life we are given is to strive for excellence in our humanity. To be fully alive, to be all that God imagined for us when he conceived us in his mind. I believe that means becoming the best me, physically, mentally, spiritually. It means I need to be putting the good things God provided for us into the human machine so that it produces the best results. What we eat directly affects many of the functions of the body and mind. Chocolate bars and cookies, does not a brain surgeon make. Exercise, keeps the blood pumping the pressure down and the muscles stretched and strong. Reading and increasing my knowledge will help keep the brain active and alert. Spiritual practices remind me that we are not just flesh and bone but spirit meant for an eternal reality.

This life is only the journey, the true destination is heaven but we don’t get there by accident, or default. It takes work and determination to do good, be good and  make a difference where we are planted. We are to be Christ’s hands, feet, and heart to a hurting world. People need models to follow, leaders to lead and witnesses to observe.

What are we reading? What are we watching and letting into our hearts and heads? How do we treat one another? How do we respond when we are rejected, dismissed, persecuted? Do we turn the other cheek, or flip the bird? Patience only grows when we practice it. Love only expands when we open our hearts to let others in.

I am beginning anew today. I am hoping this time it sticks and it becomes a habit for the whole of my life, however long that might be. I hope to make it something memorable, something worth witnessing and something that becomes a little sign that points to the ONE road that leads to eternal happiness and joy.

Happy new beginnings, happy lent, happy today!!

Twenty six years of kids will leave you with a lot of accumulated junk. Lost and forgotten treasures lurk within every box, stuffed in long forgotten tubs and drawers, all for the unsuspecting mommy to go through when the brood flies the coop. They seem to only take the necessities when they move out and leave the rest for mom and dad to sort…well just mom really. Little do they know that their prized trophy from the fifth grade floor hockey tournament hit the trash can years ago. So sad, so long.

My dear husband the coupon king cannot pass up a bargain and when school supplies hit the stores he was there to get paper, pencils, markers and spiral notebooks for five kids. As I forage through their past, I have come to discover a treasure trove of minimally used, half used, and NOT used school supplies.We have a quantity of spiral notebooks just barely written in, or doodled upon that will keep us in paper until we turn to dust. I don’t even want to talk about the notebook paper supply that when you actually try to handle the paper, it crumbles. Colored pencils…now there is a story. Teachers want students to have them for the solitary project they have assigned in the school year. My darling would purchase new sets each year because the little pumpkins couldn’t imagine using the same ones the following year. Clearly mommy wasn’t along on these shopping forays. Let’s do the math, shall we? Five kids times twelve colored pencils times twelve years of school. Let’s just say I plan on building our retirement home purely out of markers and pencils.

All the accumulated clutter we gather over the years that we often think we must have really comes into perspective as we look at it through the lens of years later. We have boxes, closets, attics, garages, and storage units to house all the junk we can’t seem to part with. Yet, when we pass to the next life there will be those who must sift through what is left and much of it will go where it belongs…the dumpster. We come into this world with nothing and will go out of it in the same way.

Lent is this awesome time each year to really reflect on our lives and what we have that either leads us to or away from God. It is a time of detachment. We need to take a really good look at “what, who and how” we fill our days and nights. We have but limited time on this planet, we are dust and to dust we shall return.

This past couple of weeks for me has been pretty crazy and filled with pain and sadness. It has brought the sudden death of a spouse for two people I know, divorce papers being served to two beautiful women I am close to, the demise of a marriage, a friend whose husband has cancerous tumors all over his body, and news of some personal health challenges.

Life is full of suffering and can be a cause for doubt, lost faith, despair, found faith and newfound hope as well. Lent for me, is a time to embrace all that and see its greater purpose in light of the cross. God “chastises” those He loves. When we accept all that pain and bring it to the cross it can be a way to suffer along with Christ and bring about so much good. The old adage to “offer it up,” is really very good advice. We will spend eternity I hope, in conversation about the many ways our little sacrifices and offerings made all the difference for someone else.

Really use this time of Lent to search your life, and toss out the clutter now. Anything or anyone that does not lead you to being the YOU God created you to be needs to go. Pray deeper for discernment, detach from harmful behaviors, confess and clean out the hidden closet of your soul now. We are not promised a long and pain-free life, but we are told that Christ will never leave us and that is great news.

Come Easter morning we can really celebrate because we will have walked that road to Calvary these forty days and will know the true joy of new life. My Easter basket will be filled with shredded notebook paper and brimming with chocolate and that morning I hope to walk into the light of a new life, one step closer to heaven than I was forty days earlier.