Lent is off to a great start! I let my compulsions get away from me and in my “strength” decided to 1) give up coffee, 2) give up sweets, 3) give up tortilla chips, 4) go to daily Mass, 5) fill the Rice Bowl this year with monetary sacrifice, 6) sign-off from Facebook until Easter, and try to be an all-around loving sweet human being! Ha!! What am I thinking? Am I out to prove my spiritual prowess? Do I think I need to be an Olympian at Sacrificing? What spirituality am I following?
Fail, fail, fail! I’ve encountered my weaknesses in triple-fold and we are only on day 2.
But, is it really failure? If I choose to regroup and follow the spirituality of communion with Christ through Mary, then I have a lot of truth to gaze upon and a lot of Love and Mercy to benefit from!
In 2 short days I have discovered some amazing truth.
Coffee. I am physically addicted to caffeine. I have been going through withdrawal symptoms for the lack of my morning pot of coffee. I hate to let you in on how bad I am, but the truth be told…I’ve given my heart to coffee. I await coffee every morning more than I await the Eucharist. I make sure I have supplies of coffee beans and half and half in the house when I might let slide having foods in the fridge for my kids’ school lunches. I dream of holding a to-go cup in my hand, something that happens rarely because we don’t have the funds for it. I rely on it, instead of God’s grace, to get me through the day. It might not be my whole heart that I’ve given to coffee, but the large piece dedicated to it takes from giving my whole heart to the Lord.
Holy Mass. There were years when I was a daily communicant. Now that I have a young one again, I am not as frequent of an attendee. For Lent, the pressure was supposed to get me going again. Truth revealed? Thursday morning, I get up to make the kids’ breakfast in plenty of time to eat my own breakfast before morning Mass. Distracted and lethargic (remember no coffee) I don’t start eating until 7:15 am. Mass begins at 8 am. I somehow get looking at emails and my mind loses track of time. I look at the clock, which reads 7:40 am. Between eating and reading, I had plenty of time to dress and get the Little One ready to go to Holy Mass. What kept me from going was the selfish outlook that I only go if I can receive the Eucharist. I don’t go to Mass to celebrate with the Body of Christ the greatest prayer of the day! Oh, blessed weakness! I have not given all my mind to the Lord.
So, who needs Blessed Mother? I DO!!
Yes, these are just two examples of how awesome my Lent has started (no sarcasm intended). In the past these would have been enough to cause me to forget it was Lent altogether. But, thanks to Communion of Life with Christ through Mary, I am just more convinced of my need for Our Savior, and my need for the Blessed Mother to carry me always. She has helped me see that even my good desires are often a mere reflection of my ego. But, at the same time, She is convincing me that even before I saw this truth God loved me; and, now that I see this truth, His love is all the more amazing to me! It helps me desire to call out to Her more often, so that perhaps She will rescue me before I fall and set my eyes on Her Beloved Son!
If you see your spiritual misery with faith in God’s love, then this truth will not threaten you. If, however, you start to doubt God’s mercy, then newly discovered misery could lead you even to despair. Doubting God’s mercy could provoke you to close the door of your heart before Him, thus directing you to commit even worse sins. But if you try to remember that you are being carried in the arms of Mary, the Mother of Christ, you will be fully open to God’s love. In Her arms, you may be shielded from your faults and unfaithfulness; you may experience peacefulness and even happiness when God reveals the contents of your whitewashed tomb to you in a fuller light.
S.C. Biela, Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005), 28-29.