The Lenten season has just started and I have been seeing a lot of articles and posts online about how we can spend this season as meaningfully and spiritually renewing as possible.
Many people posted on social media about what they will give up during Lent. I did not post anything but I was also thinking, what can I do to strip away all the unnecessary things that have been taking so much of my attention and energy in order to refocus back on Jesus?
We can see a lot of great suggestions from different people, and I will not try to make a few more here in this post. Instead, I would like to share how things are going on in me as I begin this Lent 2020.
Inner Battles Start to Recur
Indecisiveness or… Reluctance
A couple of days before Ash Wednesday, I was trying to decide which parish should I go to attend a mass for Ash Wednesday after work. What concerned me is not really the available times of the mass nor the locations of the churches. But rather, that feeling of indecisiveness or should I say, subtle reluctance to attend the mass.
I thought, I want to attend the mass not out of obligation but out of my willingness and desire to hear the Word of God during the mass and as the ash is being placed on my forehead to remind me of God’s love and power to create, save, and forgive.
Why do I need to be reminded? Do I forget about that sometimes? Yes, I sometimes do. That is why I strongly believe that I have to be spiritually nourished on a regular basis and not just whenever I want to.
Impatience or… being preoccupied
I have noticed that I am recently being impatient and irritable like how I used to when I was preoccupied with something else and not being completely present at the moment. Madalas akong ganito noon eh, noong bago ko pa matutunan to not allow myself to depend my happiness on one particular thing, and to not be worried about the things that I still can’t figure out yet. In short, heto na naman ako, pinipilit i-handle ang mga bagay-bagay na parang wala akong Diyos… Sorry, Lord, I’m trying to do things again on my own. Kaya’t heto, worrywart na naman ang peg ko. Hindi ko tuloy nabibigyan ng sapat na pansin and care yung mga nasa ‘here and now’ ko.
Willfully Giving in to Temptation or… Idolatry
I recently learned that finding or getting my pleasures from and depending my happiness and needs on anything or anyone other than God, even though I am not literally worshipping someone else, is still called Idolatry.
When I subtly shifted my focus on something else na tipong inaabangan ko with too much excitement and anxiety araw-araw at hindi ako napapakali at nakakapagconcentrate sa current task at hand dahil from time to time eh, naiisip ko ‘yong bagay/tao na ‘yon, that’s when I found myself being less firm on my convictions.
But the Training and Tools Are Being Provided
Sabi ko nga sa sarili ko, “bakit kung kalian nagsimula na ang Kwaresma, tsaka naman ako parang napapalayo kay Lord?”. There may be multiple, different answers to that. But what I can also notice is that, I am not completely defenseless, I am not left out in the open all by myself. No.
Napapangiti na lang ako everytime I remember how I was able to manage my thoughts and control my temper during that time when a customer was harassing me and my co-worker the other day. Remembering what I’ve learned in college and in everyday life since I started working makes me say to myself, “Giiiiiirl, you’ve been given what you need!”.
And more noticeably, the readings and the messages in the mass and in the literatures for Lent that I have read so far, including the songs that we sing at church are all reminding me about God’s calling to come back to Him, to come back Home.
HOW TO WIN IN LOVE AND RETURN TO LOVE
In other words, it’s like God is saying, don’t depend on anyone or anything else but Him.
He is gently reminding me to focus on Him again; to choose to walk with Him instead of going through my every day all on my own; to rest in His care by allowing myself to be under His wing, making me able to concentrate on one thing at a time instead of trying to figure everything out at once.
This is also a good time to discern and distinguish what is truly necessary and beneficial from what is just a distraction and what could cause destruction; to be able to stand firm and be victorious in whatever ‘battle’ we are facing.
And to trust His ways, His plans, and His timing, which is what we will recall and relive through the passion of Jesus in the following days and weeks until Easter.
But the goal is really to remember that not just until Easter but going forward to the rest of the year and so on.
I’m looking forward to the readings and the activities in the following weeks that will teach and remind us about how Jesus faced and overcame temptations; how He, although experienced extreme agony and excruciating pain, was able to finish His mission and conquered death; and many more vital lessons and gifts that we would hopefully receive gladly for our spirit to be refreshed and our faith to be renewed and replenished.
Nagsisimula pa lang tayo. But we will conquer. Kung paano mo man piniling i-spend ang Lenten season, whatever it is that you aim to accomplish (abstaining from sweets, from binging on Netflix, making it a habit to ready the Bible everyday, to donate to charity, etc.), to abolish (vices, cursing, gossiping, bad habits, etc.), to change (behavior, attitude, mindset, goals), or to learn (life lessons, more about Jesus, kindness, love, etc.), may the Lord’s will be done. We will be victors in Him, with Him, and through Him.
Love and prayers for you.
(Photo Source: Unsplash)