As we approach the Lenten season, we automatically turn inward and reflect on our lives and decide about what sacrifices we will make. For someone who is divorced, it’s easy to look at your life and say, I’m already sacrificing! Everyday without my spouse and my family should be enough suffering for everyone! You may have even lost your children, your home, your job, even your friends because of the divorce. It makes sense that you might be feeling as if you should be exempt from making more sacrifices.
Since Christ sacrificed everything He had for us, every ounce of His strength, every drop of His Precious Blood, it’s always good to keep the attitude of love He had and just keep on giving, even though it’s already cost you so much. But there are ways you can mix it up a bit and bring a new twist to your Lenten offering.
Since Lent is a time for us to repent and have a change of heart, the inward sacrificial act may not be what you need most. It may be an outward act prompting the changing of your heart that is most needed to express your repentence.
In the gospel of John, we read that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on Easter Sunday and found it empty. Her love for Jesus was so great and her suffering over his death was so intense that when she saw his body was gone, she wept. But when Jesus approached her, He said, “Woman, why do you weep? (John 20:13)”
Jesus is also speaking to you in this passage: “Why do you weep?”
You weep for what you have lost, just as Mary Magdalene did. You weep for the loss of your marriage and for your confusion over why something which was supposed to be true and lasting turned out to be false and prematurely terminated. You weep for the loss of hope for the future and faith in other people.
But if you read the passage further and reflect upon what happened, you can almost hear Mary’s heart burst open with joy when she realizes the “angel” speaking to her is really Jesus. Her joy is so overwhelming that she physically grabs onto Him – to the point where He has to tell her to let go; “Stop clinging to me!”. Wouldn’t it be incredible – after all your suffering – to experience that kind of joy? Here again, is a great point of reflection for you that will help you experience a joyous Easter and know how to proceed this Lent.
Instead of giving up coffee, or chocolate, or Facebook, things that draw you inside yourself, you can do something that brings you out of yourself, something that forces you to focus on someone besides yourself.
Are you having trouble with depression or feeling hopeless about your future? Try making your daily sacrifice an action such as attending daily mass; every day, even Saturday. Or committing to reading one chapter from the book of Psalms every morning before you get ready for the day.
Are you feeling agitated and impatient with others? Choose to serve someone else everyday of Lent. Bring a co-worker her coffee in the morning (just the way she likes it), or offer solid support and real enthusiasm for someone else’s achievement. You can even make a particular person your special project, by doing something for them everyday. One day you pray the rosary for them, the next you give them a call to check in and see how they’re doing. The next, you offer an hour of Eucharistic Adoration for them, the next, you offer your headache up for them. Little things that will make a difference both for them and for you and help your heart to grow in love.
There is another wonderful opportunity you can take advantage of through Johnette Benkovic’s (EWTN) Women of Grace website, which is the upcoming webinar: Protecting Your Family And Your Business, An Urgent Remedy For Fear, Confusion And Evil Today. This is a webinar on the topic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and is hosted by Rev. William F. Petrie, SS.CC.
There are numerous options you can choose, but anything you decide upon should be something that affects a change in your heart; an increase in faith, hope, and charity that will bring about true repentance and be blessed with incredible joy and the peace that only Christ can bring.