Behind every Lenten penance, practice, and prayer service is a PERSON. If we miss encountering Him, Lenten devotions become just another hollow religious exercise that never truly transforms. “Jesus Christ himself is the most sublime grace of Lent. It is he himself who appears before us in the admirable simplicity of the Gospel, of its words and its works. He speaks to us with the might of his Gethsemane, of the judgment before Pilate, of the scourging , of the crowning with thorns, of the via crucis, of his crucifixion: with everything that can shake man’s heart.” – Bl. John Paul IIRead More
My apostolate (speaking at parish missions, retreats, pilgrimages, and Great Adventure seminars) means I spend a lot of time on the road. As a “road warrior,” I travel between 150-180 days a year. All this time on the road offers me a helpful spiritual analogy for the journey of faith. Like any trip or pilgrimage we prepare for, we have to ask ourselves spiritually, “What do we pack and what do we leave behind?”
Here’s what we don’t need to carry into 2014: the burden of sin. Make a good and thorough confession a part of your New Year commitments. There’s nothing better for lightening your step in the new year. As St. Paul puts it, “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1b).
(By the way, Jeff Cavins’ study Walking Towards Eternity: Engaging the Struggles of Your Heart,helped me personally leave behind some other baggage, like greed, envy, fear and shame.)
Dressing for the trip
OK, that’s what we unload. What do we pack in our spiritual luggage? Once again, I turn to St. Paul (an experienced traveler himself) for some recommendations. Like other travel experts, he suggests “layering” with several items.
First and foremost, “Put on Christ” (Romans 13:14). Then, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness (teachability), patience, and forgiveness (Col. 3:11-13). Imagine how different our life and relationships would be in 2014 if we dressed ourselves every morning like that! In Rio, Pope Francis proposed three related garments:
“If we want it to have real meaning and fulfillment…
- ’Put on faith’, and your life will take on a new flavor, it will have a compass to show you the way;
- ‘put on hope’ and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark, but luminous;
- ‘put on love’, and your life will be like a house built on rock.”
For more great ideas and tips for growing in your spiritual life, check out the new redesigned Great Adventure blog: http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/blog/Read More