Resolute Progress: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer

When it’s Lent, anything that could possibly go wrong, will go wrong.

Just in the past week,
the oven handle has come off several times
the vent finally gave out and had to be replaced
and today the water filter suddenly cracked.

Lent for my hubby should be officially designated “Honey Do Month”.

Lent is actually my oasis in the desert. Because of my heightened awareness of God and His Presence in my life, I also am able to identify little mortifications that could be offered up.

Fr. Matt, in his homily today, asks/challenges, “What will be different this time?”

One of my goals when I emerge from this Lent is to maintain this same level of awareness, keeping God front and center all the time. Easy to say, yes, hard to do. I think I’ve strayed from where I was a couple of years ago and it’s primarily because of increased use of social media.
The quiet is a bit overwhelming at times, but I’m considering making the change a permanent one.

However, I still recognize that there is work to be done, in terms of evangelization, which we are called to engage in, even more, now.

Fr. Dubay talks about degrees of human excellence. While I certainly can identify with all degrees (certainly less so the third, which calls for me to be saintly most of the time), I am most firmly ensconced in the second degree. It’s the little things that always get me. Especially through the years that I’ve grown in my faith and become more confident of God’s love for me, I’ve seen this creeping tendency to flare up, like when the Church or the Pope is being attacked, or when “catholics” misrepresent authentic Catholic teaching. The problem with that is I also seem to have developed a low threshold for anything that may be identifiable as a spiritual battle — especially as it concerns me and my family. Anytime I sense the evil one trying to get a foothold, no matter how little the temptation is, I go into Mama Bear mode, and forget that gentleness with the person working through the struggle would work so much more effectively if I weren’t huffing and puffing, eager for the battle to end with my loved one as victor. I often come out intolerant of the PERSON and not of the EVIL. Big difference.

If I could pick only one book that I’d say had a profound effect in my life besides the Bible, I’d say it’s Fr. Lovasik’s The Hidden Power of Kindness. Page after page it is filled with practical suggestions on how to be a kinder, saintlier person RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. Lenten resolution within this Lenten resolution: reread this book.

I’m also realizing that I’m a happier, more peaceful, a more in-tune-with-God person, without certain people in my life. They’re not toxic people per se, but just ones who evoke a certain response in me that if I’m not careful could lead me to various sins. While it feels good to be needed, and I’ve always had a tendency to say YES to everything that’s presented to me, it’s been nice to take a step back and just enjoy the quiet. It also helps tone down my pride a bit to realize that I am not as needed as I sometimes think I am. My primary vocation is not in cyberspace where can only effect minute changes, where I cannot change the world, anymore than I can crawl into my screen and give people a pat on the back or a hug. I’ve spent entirely too much time in the playground, it seems, and not enough on my knees.

To keep on progressing spiritually, more attention needs to be given to feeding my soul. This is evidenced by the pile of books (mostly spiritual reading) I have at my bedside — ever increasing, never diminishing, it seems, until Lent rolls around. This seems to be the great difficulty everyone encounters, but is loathe to identify. Just like people who skip breakfast even when they know it’s the most important meal of the day, it’s easy to convince oneself that we are getting nourishment just from being around like-minded folks. It’s not going to happen with me sitting in an atmosphere of camaraderie, but perhaps not a whole lot of soul-growing. I cannot expect to just soak up faith by chatting daily with a bunch of believers. I still have to proactively turn to my God and His Word and be constantly in Communion with Him, even if that means I turn to Him IN SILENCE.

In the everyday, it’s easy to let the tiny temptations pile up and not even see them for what they are. Stepping back to view the bigger picture needs to happen on a regular basis, or I lose sight of what God truly wants me to do. I can only listen well, when by choice, I turn off the cacophony of voices I’ve allowed into my life (many of which are my own and come in the form of unreasonable demands). I cannot simply wait for Him to yell in order to drown out the noise that’s of my own making.

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