Have you noticed that this year everything feels a little… rushed? Christmas break was definitely shorter than normal. And that felt like just last week, and now it’s basically Ash Wednesday already. And Lent will go so fast this year, we’ve ended up with Easter on April Fool’s Day.
(I have to admit, I’m half expecting Christ, on Easter morning, because the man has nothing if not a great sense of humor, to let us get halfway through our celebration of the resurrection, then show up on a cloud of glory with blazing lights and angel choruses, bust out the whole laser light show, and shout something to the effect of: “PSYCH! Better have your Second Coming hats on kiddos, we’re outta here!” If that does happen, remember this. I totally called it.)
Anyway. In the spirit of slowing things down, I’d like to share a simple suggestion for handling that feeling of being spiritually rushed. If you haven’t yet decided your chosen course of Lenten-abstaining-from-something-distracting, then here’s my proposal: this Lent, I implore you to spend your 40 days spiritually seeking to better understand the person of Christ where He is closest to us: in the Eucharist, in Adoration, in Confession, and with His mother. What part of that is simple, might you ask? This part! Pick one of these to be your focus, your meditative word, your mantra. And don’t simply rely on yourself to remember that this is your Lenten goal – when we rely on just ourselves, that’s when we fail at giving things up or adding to our prayers. Instead, help yourself be consistently attentive to your spiritual focus word by writing it on your bathroom mirror, on top of each page you write on, in your planner on every Lenten day, on the background of your electronics, on a notepad at your desk, on the wall by your front door, on the lamp that you turn on and off each night – anywhere and everywhere you can think of that will catch your eye, not worrying about who else might see it, welcoming anyone who calls your attention to it, for they will help you succeed in your goal. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised, with just having the word in constant proximity, by how much you find yourself drawn into not just thinking of your spiritual focus – but into thinking deeper, wondering at its meaning, remembering where you’ve experienced this gift in your life, dreaming up new ways that you can explain it to others, recalling all that you’ve been taught about or heard of this incredible miracle that God gave us.
If you think this is a good idea for you, if you’re feeling rushed this Lent and have been quietly worried about how to proceed, then join me for the journey! On Ash Wednesday start your Lenten reflection by placing these reminders wherever you think pertinent, as many times as you’ll think you might want to be reminded to keep one of these gifts at the front of your mind every day for forty days; and make the most of what we have this Lent by appreciating each quiet, simple, meditative moment you can create for yourself, reflecting upon one of these great sources of life, joy, and grace.
Visit St. Francis of Assisi for Ash Wednesday, February 14th.
Mass with Distribution of Ashes: 8:30am & 7:00pm
Word Service and Distribution of Ashes: 12:15pm & 7:00pm
This blog post written by Marci Houle, Coordinator of Adult Catechesis & Evangelization here at St. Francis of Assisi. If you’re interested in writing a blog for St. Francis of Assisi, please contact Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org.