Breaking Through the Wall

“I hate Lent!” was the exclamation that came from our almost-six-year-old’s mouth the other night. He was overcome with sudden despair because we denied his plea for dessert. It’s funny that he was being so dramatic; it’s not like this was the first day without sweets. We were three weeks into Lent; but perhaps three weeks was his breaking point.

“I hate Lent!” Ty whimpered. “That’s kind of the point,” my husband replied humorously. I chuckled. Ty didn’t find either of our responses comforting.

I started thinking about the exchange. Ty was “feeling the burn,” so to speak. The spiritual exercise of self-denial wasn’t very novel anymore, and his self-discipline and self-control were waning. For a child, it’s probably equivalent to a weight-lifter at the gym after multiple sets. At the beginning there’s a lot of enthusiasum. The first few reps aren’t bad; they might even feel good. Then fatique sets in…then mental exhaustion, and the thought of one more rep is terrible. Continue reading “Breaking Through the Wall”

Fast, Pray, Give…in Secret

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start to our 40-day season of Lent. I know that we have all been considering (prayerfully) what it is that God wants us to commit to prayer, to give, and to fast from during this time. However, I notice a trend that may not be good. We have a tendency to be a little too vocal about our fasting, praying, and giving. In fact, conversations will often turn to the topic: “What are you giving up during Lent?”

Today’s Gospel reading squarely challenges us being too “sharing” about our Lenten sacrifices. Jesus, in Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18, gives us clear guidelines for how we should approach giving, prayer and fasting. He generally warns us: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them.” Continue reading “Fast, Pray, Give…in Secret”