Monday, March 2, 2015

Raise up, Sacrifice, Offer

Are you still loving Lent, or does it feel like the honeymoon is over?  Maybe it's just me, but from Ash Wednesday through the first week of Lent, I seem to have a natural burst of enthusiasm for my Lenten promises.  Then the reality sets in!
It seems like 14 days would be much more reasonable than 40--and I try to convince myself that I would be much better at maintaining my Lenten discipline if only I could tinker with the timeline a bit :)  After all, this year I started Lent with a firm commitment to pray, fast and give more intentionally, more meaningfully, but maybe I like the sprint more than the marathon.

But therein lies the problem.  As we enter the second week of Lent, I find myself left once again with myself at the center, trying to mold Lent to suit my own perceived needs.  So, what if I de-centralized myself this Lent?  What if I shifted my attention from my Lenten promises and my enthusiasm for this season of renewal (or lack thereof), back to the rightful focus of this season--the transforming work of the Lord?

In other words, what if I really allowed the Holy Spirit to help change the way I pray, fast and give? Today and for the rest of Lent and beyond.  Regardless of how "successful" it may be, am I really looking for just another self-help experience this Lent?  Or am I ready to let the Lord use this season for his purposes?

Jesus has clearly promised that we will receive what we ask for, we will find what we seek, and the door will be opened if only we knock.  Maybe my asking and my seeking and my knocking need to be less about me this Lent.  Maybe my path to a deeper experience of Lent requires that I allow the Holy Spirit transform my longings themselves.

Amid this golden age of quality resources within the Church, the U.S. Bishops' theme for Lent 2015 is Raise up. Sacrifice. Offer (check out the calendar and helpful links).  If I dare to shift my focus from what I'm raising up, how I'm sacrificing, and what I'm offering, maybe the Holy Spirit will surprise me once again.

Maybe this Lent will become more a matter of the Lord raising me up, making my life a more worthy sacrifice, and helping me offer my life in the way that brings greater glory to our heavenly Father.

Let's continue to pray that this becomes the Lent the Lord needs in each of our lives--

P.S.  Speaking of resources, here's a link to an inspiring invitation to "Do Something Big this Lent," at the Share Jesus Campaign (#ShareJesus); you can subscribe to receive a daily video clip at