We are coming upon Lent 2020 next Wednesday! How fast time flies. It seems I am always saying that. Life is short and therefore we should be heroic in following Jesus in the Gospels. Lent is a time of fasting, praying and almsgiving. We hear it every year. We make resolutions every year. We fall – every year. Are we going to be courageous even though we know we have failed in the past? How are we to remain steadfast in our love and commitment this Lent?
We need to remember that we entered life burdened with Original Sin. Only the Blessed Virgin Mary alone, through her Immaculate Conception was preserved from this taint and the Church teaches us that She was given, in addition to this supreme grace, the precious grace to keep free of actual sin throughout her life. She will be our secret to constancy -- both for this Lent and for the rest of our lives!
We are left with the reality that at no moment are we free from a possible head-on collision with temptation. We live in a constant battle – not just through Lent – but throughout our entire lives – against the devil, the world and the flesh – our enemies!
Nothing is more characteristic of our present age than our utter disregard of the virtue of prudence. We read everything, expose ourselves to everything, take many risks, and place ourselves at risk in extremely dangerous situations. And this happens to all people from all walks of life. Souls are like nations; if they do not take heed to their security – it will be seriously compromised; yet we do very little to protect ourselves!
It just takes common sense to know and understand that sacrifice is needed to preserve the sacred treasures of our soul. But as the saying goes today, “Common sense is not so common.” Then if we can not use our common sense, let us turn to Scripture. In Matthew chapter 16, verse 24 we read: “Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” This is a plea for maximum generosity. If we seek God who is Love – we must follow the road He followed. Our struggle against self is indispensable. The disciple of a crucified Master cannot evade crucifixion. We must begin by avoiding sin and practicing the essential duties and virtues of a Christian and seek to do all of this with the help of our Mother Mary - She will guide us!
We must make a resolution this Lent to not let the flame die out as it comes into contact with the hardships of life or with the mere monotony of the repeated demands of everyday life. Unfortunately, our inconstancy is a characteristic of the majority. Only those capable of doing violence to themselves are worthy of the kingdom of Heaven. In Matthew 11:12, we read, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.” Which means that only those capable of doing violence to themselves are worthy of the kingdom of Heaven. How many of us can say that we have taken this message seriously??
To what extent does my life, which is supposedly Christian deserve to be called a life of violence – violence to any selfishness, violence to the enticements of the world, violence to the demands of the flesh, violence to the seductions of the devil? Does violence really characterize the life of the majority of Christians today?
Pursuit of comfort, pleasure, and ease is the motivating force of almost every phase of present-day life, even among those of us who claim to strive after a truly Christian life.
We may say, “Are we obliged to aim so high?” –
We must aim at the perfection God expects of us. Could the Gospel still be called the Gospel if it were stripped of one of its strongest precepts, “Whosoever doth not carry his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27. YIKES!!
We must never forget the example Jesus left for us in picking up His cross when He fell. We are to never forget that holiness consists in repeatedly beginning over. Never stop!! St. Teresa of Avila's famous quote, "We need to have determined determination!"
How are we to be sure to never stop? We are to constantly turn to and pray to Our Lady to help us in this goal. Let us ask Her to give us the graces of love to continue to do violence to ourselves this Lent and to Love God Above All Things. This will be our driving force to keep vigilant this Lent with our prayers, our fasting and our almsgiving --- It is to keep constant companion to Our Lady and Her Love for Her Son and for us. May we never leave Her side EVER!! May She accompany us to Her Son in life and at the hour of our death!
With tremendous love for Jesus and Mary, may we remain at the foot of the cross with Her this Lent.
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!