Ash Wednesday is quickly approaching; Lent is nearly upon us. Have you begun to think about how you will observe these holiest of 40 days?
The old familiar sacrificial standbys are always there for our comfort: we give up soda or dessert, candy or cookies, alcohol or coffee. We turn the tv off, the radio off, our cell phone off. We don’t check email, don’t use Facebook, and don’t buy the newest must-have. We offer the money that we would have spent to obtain Masses for our family and friends, or give it to the family who we know to be struggling.
We seek silence. We pray more often, attend Mass more often; we confess our sins. We scour the kitchen for mom’s classic tuna noodle casserole recipe, and resolve to support the parish’s famous Friday fish fry.
We are practical, but generous in our sacrifices. Perhaps we do not give up coffee entirely, but just that third cup, knowing that our family, coworkers, and society at large could not take such a jolt. We are creative and private too, for creativity is a mark of love and discretion is one of modesty. We make our offerings to Jesus personal, intentional, and from the bottom of our heart. Our sacrifices are uniquely chosen and are given to Him sealed with our fingerprint, but go unknown to others around us.
As St. Paul says in the second reading for this Sunday, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Allow every one of your sacrifices, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to you, be made into something gigantic by Him. Every sacrifice offered in love is beautiful to Jesus.
So while you’re at it, get up immediately when your alarm goes off for the glory of God, for love knows nothing of “snooze.” Make your bed for the glory of God. Prepare breakfast as if it were for Jesus Himself, because it is if that act is offered to Him.
Answer the telemarketer’s call politely. Wait in line patiently. Listen attentively. Allow that friend, family member, or coworker with whom you struggle to serve as your Lenten pumice stone. Receive their correction humbly, silently. Forego any defense of yourself. And smile, knowing that you are doing it all for the glory of Love.
Whenever we offer sacrifice for the glory of God, we are offering it through Love, with Love, and in Love. What are you waiting for? Make your plan, study your map, and bring a friend along for the journey. Don’t let this Lent pass you by! O Stella Maris, Star of the Sea, pray for travelers, pray for me.