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A Lenten Journey

I really didn't mean to take such a hiatus from blogging. I have not given up blogging for Lent. I guess it just hasn't risen to the top of my priority list until now. I hope to keep it up there on a more regular basis.

My days have been busy but joyful. Of course, the most joyful news I can share is the arrival of my grandson, John David. I have seen him through a video chat but I won't get to actually hold him for a few weeks. Such blessings!

Then like the rest of the Catholic world, I was stunned by the news that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28. I have been offering a novena for Pope Benedict, the conclave, and his successor. When Blessed John Paul II died, I remember feeling anxious. He was the only pope I had really been aware of. Those before him had been less visible and I was unaware of their influences on my life. But Blessed John Paul II boldly stood before the faithful and led us to a renewed orthodoxy. Who could replace him? Silly me. The Church has been electing new popes for quite a while and the Holy Spirit always seems to find the right man for the job. And so we were blessed with Pope Benedict XVI. I won't say I am anxiety free over the selection of the new pope, but I am confident that the Church will be given exactly what she needs.

And now there is Lent. I am loving this Lent. In spite of a frenetic pace with a new grandbaby, planning a wedding (Did I mention my daughter is getting married in August?), writing deadlines,  and teaching I am feeling more calm than I have in ages. Less than two weeks into this Lent and I feel more spiritual growth than I have felt in the full forty days of past Lents. There are multiple reasons for this and I will try to unpack them in future blog posts. For right now, let me say that every year a common topic develops during my Lent. Normally, it takes a while for me to recognize it. This year I am blessed with a duo and they popped out at me on Day 1. Humility and Simplicity are winding their way through my Lenten journey like ribbons through a braid.

Daily Mass is always a help in focusing my spiritual efforts on the liturgical season and I have several devotional aids. One in particular has been perfect this year. I am following along with Paula Huston in her book Simplifying the Soul, Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit. I love this book because it offers very practical, real world Lenten exercises. For example, detach yourself from a possession that you are holding on to but don't really need. Think about it. I bet you can think of something that is pushed to the back of a shelf. You keep it because it might be useful someday, but you haven't touched it in years or maybe even in decades. You have an outfit that you are hanging on to in case you get back to your skinny self. Let it go. Give it away.  The book is a series of exercises that help you unclutter your life and make the way clear for God.

I hope your Lent is going well. It is not too late to get it on track. How you start is not as important as how you finish.


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