Lent is here again you fabulous young followers of Christ. And… By YOUNG, I mean those who are between the ages of thirteen and thirty-nine. And Yes… That includes this 30 something “technical” young Catholic. And the forty-somethings. Maybe the 50-somethings too. And, well…..OK, I guess every age is considered “young”. Well, I want to share with you ALL my lenten reflection.
I think most of us know that the season of Lent is a time when we as Catholics put ashes on our forehead, abstain from meat on Fridays, and give up soda, hot cheesy snacks, coffee or something. Even the fast food places bring out their seasonal shrimp or fish items, so they definitely know we’re coming! I look forward to this time of year because (CONFESSION TIME) my favorite fast food place has shrimp tacos. I can order them all day, every day and still consider myself a good and faithful Catholic.
There are a lot of books, movies and music that have come out already that can help guide us through the season in a deeper and more meaningful way. I could give out a list of tools that I recommend and call it a day, but I was thinking about doing something a little different. After all, you have the world at your fingertips between the internet and television.
A battle I face every Lenten season is similar to the story of the Rich Young Man in Matthew’s Gospel (Chapter 19:16-30). For a refresher, a rich man asked Jesus what he must do to get into the kingdom of Heaven. Everything Jesus told him, the man claimed he already did. The kicker here is when Jesus said that he must sell his possessions, give it all to the poor, and then the man could follow Jesus. Do you remember what happened next? The rich man walked away sadly because he wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice. While I can technically check off all the boxes of being a faithful Catholic, am I truly embracing what it means to walk with Christ or even have an intimate relationship with Him?
I’ve spent my life walking a zigzag line nearer and farther away from Christ as I journey towards my goal being heaven. I think the questions for me to ponder are: Do I live my life with Christ in my heart? Do I love Jesus so much that it hurts?Click To Tweet
Now before you call me one of those weird super religious Catholics, think about it. Does my relationship with Christ involve sacrifice? Every love story ever told required sacrifice and hard work, so why should mine and Jesus’ be any different? He certainly sacrificed his LIFE for mine.
I think loving Jesus “so much that is hurts” is different for everyone. For me it’s looking at a suffering world and my heart breaking. I want to help heal wounds. I want to lessen the burden of others. I want to reach out to those forgotten and outcasted because it is Christ who lives in everyone around me. In that same way I remember my own wounds and ways that I feel like I don’t belong and know that Christ not only understands my pain, but suffers with me. I find myself wanting to let the love I have for Christ show itself in the ways I choose to speak and act this Lenten season. The way I choose to express Christ’s love for me and mine for Him, sets the tone for ongoing sacrifice and growth.
So… What are the ways that Christ is tugging at your heart and asking to come closer?