The Lent “Do I Gotta?”s and an Old Grade School Prayer

The Lent “Do I Gotta?”s and an Old Grade School Prayer

Two more days until Lent.

There are two more days of Ordinary Time before the Church dons her purple cloaks and her ashes.  Two more days until we are reminded that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.

Scratch that.  It’s 1:30 in the afternoon.  We’ve only got about a day and a half.

Ugh.

Yeah, I’m just not feeling it this year.

Really, though.  There is absolutely no reason I should feel this way.  It’s not like I’ve been burned by Lent in the past!  In fact, it was Lent of 2017 that led me to starting this blog in the first place.  Lent of 2018 was pretty OK, too.  You know, as far as Lent goes.  I took all sorts of photos and did all sorts of reflection for a Lenten Photo Challenge and really enjoyed that.  But, for whatever reason, I am just not feeling the enthusiasm for this liturgical season of repentance, abstinence, and offering that I wish I would.

I mean, really.  Doesn’t that just sound like a hoot and a half?  Who wouldn’t be excited about 40 days…6 weeks!…of repentance, abstinence, and offering?!

I guess I should feel proud that my kids are already talking about what they’re going to be giving up.  We’ve had talks around the table about what they could focus on, how they can improve their behaviors and become closer to God.  I’m actually pretty impressed with some of their ideas! The boys are talking about not getting on screens in the morning before school or doing homework as soon as they get home in the afternoon so as not to waste time.  The girls have brought up being more consistent with their “voluntary” homework or giving up the bubble gum they love so much.  And that’s all well and good!

Until they ask me what I’m giving up.  {face palm}  How fast, do you think, can I round the conversation back to them?

Am I just digging in my heels?

Here’s a little tidbit you might not know about yours truly.  When faced with the great enthusiasm of my peers, I am just as likely to dig my heels in and not join in the fun as I am to throw my whole heart into it.

Everybody is watching Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad?  Rubbish!  I refuse to watch a single episode.

All of my friends in 4th grade are reading A Wrinkle in Time or The Chronicles of Narnia?  I am just fine with Laura Ingalls, thank you very much.

So, you see, part of me is wondering if this isn’t just my stubbornness rearing its ugly head and keeping me from looking forward in faith and hope at what the Lord has in store.

And while I may be as stubborn as a mule, I also happen to be incredibly blessed to be surrounded by some of the most faith-filled and liturgically-minded women on the interwebs through my involvement in Blessed is She.  My co-bloggers, Insta-friends, and the whole team of devotional writers are the best of the best and have all kinds of inspirational content.  Catholic Instagram is literally on fire with Lent preparations right now.  I’m not sure where all of these beautiful people get their ideas (if you want a list of good people to follow, let me know!).  Honestly, though, it can be a little overwhelming for people like me.  You know.  Those of us staring down Ash Wednesday with a “do I gotta?” attitude.

I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

Take my friend Grace from Grace Swap.  She has excellent ideas on how to incorporate liturgical living into your month and writes beautifully about the season of Lent.

Or another BIS blogger, Lisa, who writes at Something Pretty.  She says, “I’m trying to remember that all I can really do is approach Lent with open hands and an open heart for whatever God desires for me.”  (PS – If you’re looking for absolutely beautiful content in a lifestyle blog, definitely check her out!)

And I can’t forget to share this post from my friend, Patty.  It’s just chock-full of down to earth ideas for prayer, fasting, and alms-giving.  Totally helpful for this Lenten Scrooge mood I’m in!

So, I’m just gonna be kickin’ it old school.

All of this to say, friends…I’m going to be following the KISS method for Lent this year.  (That would be the Keep It Simple, Stupid method, don’t ya know.)

First, I’m going to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and I’m going to avoid eating meat on all the Fridays.  Yay, me!  I’ve been doing that since I was six.

Second, I’m going to try really hard to read the daily readings and devotionals Blessed is She sends out every day.  (If you don’t get them already, consider signing up for them here!)  I’ll also be doing the BIS Lenten Devotional (here’s a link to the digital download, if you’d like to do it, too, but don’t have time to get it in the mail).  They’ve been so fruitful in the past that, honestly, it’s the part of Lent I am most looking forward to.

And lastly, I’ve decided that I’m going to be pulling from wayyyyy back in my religious formation roots and bringing back a prayer I learned at good ol’ Sts. Peter & Paul.  If you’re a Jesuit freak or a big fan of St. Ignatius of Loyola, you may recognize it more in its Latin iteration, “Ad majorem dei gloriam.”

If, however, you are like me and are the product of post-Vatican II Catholic grade school in the 80s, you might be more familiar with the phrase…

all for the greater honor and glory of God.

And I do mean ALL.  Well, I hope so, anyway.

When I don’t want to fold the laundry…all for the greater honor and glory of God.

If the dishes are all piled up…all for the greater honor and glory of God.

When I don’t want to go into work today…all for the greater honor and glory of God.

If it would be easier to yell at my kids than to parent them through their bad attitude…all for the greater honor and glory of God.

Should my humility be tested, my pride hurt, my patience tested… Yep, you get the idea.

I want everything I do, every commitment I make, encounter I have to be filled with grace.  Will it be hard?  Definitely.  Will I want to give up?  Probably.  Or, most likely, will I have days that I forget completely?  You betcha!  But this prayer is so profound in its simplicity, so suited to this life of wife-and-mother that I lead.

I do find it funny that a prayer from my childhood has come back to my heart for some reason and I’m feeling like now is the time to run with it.  Will you run with me?  Let’s pray, fast, and give this Lent whether we want to or not.  Even if we have to wake up each and every day with a “fake it ’til we make it” attitude, let’s remember that with God’s help we will actually make it.

Consider this your invitation, your support, and your “I feel ya, sister” if you, too, are facing Lent with a bad case of the do I gottas.  Because, ready or not, Lent is coming.  But more importantly…so is Easter.

Lord, find me ready.

 

Featured Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

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