“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word, always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
St. Therese of Lisieux
I adore this Saint, and her beautiful way of life.
Here we are in Lent. My thoughts have quite seasonally turned to what I should do for this season of our Church liturgy. I do a fabulous job annually of picking something huge (for me) and failing, or simply negotiating my way out of it. A faithful friend once told me that what one sacrifices during Lent, should really be a step forward in how we live for Christ after Easter. That is a humbling thought indeed.
I remember a very helpful homily from a dear priest, in which he reminded us that Lent is more than just giving up chocolate.
Rather, it is intentionally offering alms, prayers and fasting to God. He encouraged us to increase our prayer life and focus on doing for others rather than trying to lose weight or build up an exercise habit. This message has proven to be one of those lovely golden nuggets that stays with me long after it was preached.
I often say “yes” to myself, and I’m certain I’m not alone.
How often do we make a hot cup of coffee to enjoy with a quiet sit down? When we get into our cars, do we try and find a good driving tune to keep our minds busy and entertained? How often do we seek pleasure in small little moments through our days? There isn’t anything wrong with that of course but I feel a movement from the Spirit to truly consider this act for Lent this year.
How about this year I keep it simple and make little sacrifices rather than one firm rule, with lots of love for others sprinkled in? Instead of jumping to meet my desires, I’m going to say no or delay the gratification.
No to the hot cup of coffee whenever I want it, bubble bath rather than finish cleaning the kitchen (ahem) or watching a favorite show last thing before retiring for the night.
I’ll start thinking of those who need an act of love, note, email out of the blue etc. Perhaps just this slight delay of these desires, and an increase of love acts to those in my community, will produce a more intentional way of living for Christ in the season of Lent and beyond?