Monday, February 4, 2013

Spring Training

The Cincinnati Reds at Spring Training in Goodyear, AZ.

According to Punxsutawney Phil, Spring is right around the corner. And so is Lent.

My daughter keeps asking me what I'm giving up for Lent and I keep telling her, probably nothing.  I will probably pray more (that's what I usually do).  Last year, I added Daytime Prayer to my prayers and it was a huge challenge.  The year before, my husband and I decided to say the rosary every night before bed.  That was a challenge, too.

My daughter is most insistent, however, that I give something up, but I am such a spiritual wimp.  I just don't fast very well.  And I am one of those people who, if I can't do it (at least close to) perfectly, I won't do it at all.  But really, this is no excuse.

It's time for me to face facts.  Lent is not easy.  And it's not supposed to be.

Lent is training for the Big Event.  Lent is learning about how to keep the faith even when you are not doing well.  Lent is learning how to deny your "self" and your desires in favor of giving to others.  In light of all the tragedies and troubles facing us in the world today, truly there is no better time to get into good spiritual shape. What is the best way to do that?

The three things that make up the heart of Lenten observation (or the "pillars of Lent") are Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving.  Like a three-legged table, just two legs will not make the table stand on it's own.  All three are necessary for stability.  So it is with Lenten observance. For me, this has not been a very well-balanced table.  In fact, it's kind of lying on the floor sideways, and sometimes, by the fourth week of Lent, it's just a flat board on the floor.

When athletes do Spring Training, they focus on three main things: their specialty skill set, their health and their mind-set.  So it is with us in our own Catholic Spring Training.  Just like any good conditioning program, I think that perhaps what I need is a good plan of action, to get me ready to train.

This week, I'll be working on posts for my Spring Training.  I'll focus in on the three pillars of Lent and I invite all of you to join me in planning. Suggestions are more than welcome!

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