Be Not Like the Hypocrites, Sad

Lent rolls around again with the opportunity to get real about our faith.  It is time once more to junk the distractions, obfuscations, excuses, accusations and deflections.  Of course, everyday is the acceptable time, for  time is short.  But Lent leaves us without the usual cover story.  So let’s get to it . . . happily.

Whatever you give up this Lent, or whatever you try to improve or add or increase in your spiritual life make sure it is not just cosmetic or temporary.  To this end remember four “C”s.

Conversion: Make it about real change.  Something needs to be left behind in order to get closer to God.  We are talking permanent change, not just giving something up for Lent.  Whatever penances and prayers you add just for Lent have to be ordered toward permanent conversion.

Concrete application:  You need to be able to do it right now and know exactly what it is and what practically needs to be done.  Don’t be general or vague.  If laziness is your problem, then you need to get up earlier, cut out TV, stay off the phone, the computer, etc.  Don’t kid yourself.

The Cross:  It is not the size of the sacrifice but the way in which it leads us to real conversion.  Pick up your cross and carry it.  You know what it is, and if you don’t it is because you don’t want to know.  That dark little box that you have hidden away in the attic of your conscience—you know exactly where you put it and why.  That is the real cross.  Really, stop kidding yourself.

It can’t be done:  Yes, it can.  You just don’t want to do it, because it is hard.  In all fairness, the spiritual life is hard, indeed, impossible.  Who can be saved? Without grace it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Believe in miracles and pray for them, but be prepared to put out into the deep.

But be happy because an open heart is a vessel of God’s grace.  Be honest and be aware of your need.

The four “C”s represent a disposition of the soul.  It is such a small thing, like the mustered seed.  But with it, everything changes.  It is the little thing that is our part.  God does the rest.  It is just a small step, and one that we are terrified to take.  You are free.  You have to choose it.

Don’t try to hide.  You are naked before God.  Stop running.  Stop pretending.  Stop pointing the finger. Stop blaiming the big bad world and the enemies of the Church.  There is just you and God in this.  Cut the baloney.

Thank Him and praise Him.  Have a very happy Lent.

5 thoughts on “Be Not Like the Hypocrites, Sad

  1. A beautiful note to us, Father. Thank you.
    I’d say God has set the tone for my family’s Lenten season, first thing this morning. Paul Anthony had a grand mal seizure at 2:30 AM, and my husband hit a skunk on the way to work ! 🙂 I know God has my son in the palm of His hands, as for my husband’s car….
    HE will stay as far away from it as we will today! P….EEEW!
    Seriously, I like the ‘passive’ mortifications God sends our way, because they are designer crosses; they lack any ounce of pride on our part.
    Rejoice in the Lord! He loves us so very much. Every cross we experience is meant to bring us closer to heaven, to make us more like Christ, and His Holy Mother.
    Father, I thank God that you post these encouraging articles for us all. Please continue to do so.
    God bless you, and all those who read your blog!

    I would like to include the meditations for the Sorrowful Mysteries that I love so much:

    The Agony in the Garden:
    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, our Sorrowful Mother, please obtain for us, from your Son, Jesus, the grace of perfect contrition, so that we may grieve over our sins which made Christ suffer.

    The Flagellation of Jesus at the Pillar:
    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, our Sorrowful Mother, please obtain for us, from your Son, Jesus, the grace of patience, so that we may suffer with joyful resignation.

    The Crowning of Thorns:
    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, our Sorrowful Mother, please obtain for us, from your Son, Jesus, the grace of mortification, so that we may voluntarily suffer physical and spiritual pain for Christ the King.

    The Carrying of the Cross:
    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, our Sorrowful Mother, please obtain for us, from your Son, Jesus, a love of the Cross, so that we may carry it every day of our lives.

    The Crucifixion:
    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, our Sorrowful Mother, please obtain for us, from your Son, Jesus, the grace to be obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.

    ~a daughter of Mary

  2. Excellent advice, Father. Your note could be recited each morning, and used as a focusing tool (preferably right after coffee number one). I may print one out right now. It really could be as regular and effective a part of the waking hour as a morning offering.

  3. I was thinking the same thing as MrV — I should probably read this every morning to give me the encouragement to joyfully embrace my cross and not grimly drag it. Thanks, Father.

  4. Hmmmm… thinking we should print this out and post on our fridge?? Hubby read it out loud to us after our morning rosary, well said Fr. well said.

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