Wednesday, March 9, 2011


"Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them...When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you...When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you...When you fast, do not look gloomy so that you may appear to others to be fasting. Your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

I have several practicing and devout Catholics on my Facebook. Recently, I have seen a few status’ about their excitement about the Lent season approaching. I have to admit that I have not shared in their enthusiasm. Who gets excited about suffering? It got me thinking. After the 12 apostles were confirmed on Pentecost, they were no longer timid and scared of suffering and rejection. As a matter of fact, when they were stoned, tortured and kicked out from a town after spreading the Word of God, they were laughing and jumping for joy because they got to suffer in the name of Christ. It may sound odd at first but it actually makes sense. Bringing this closer to home, imagine a bully attacking your sister and then YOU jump in and fight the good fight all for the love of your sister. How will it make you feel after you had suffered your beating? How would it make your sister feel? Yes, its that kind of a feeling. It doesn’t have to be a feeling of triumph. That would be just a bonus. Its that feeling of love that grew between you and your sister. It’s the “You are my hero” feeling.

We can choose to suffer for God at any time of the year. Our family once made a spiritual bouquet for our friends that were in a car accident years ago. We made flowers out of construction paper and taped each one onto a straw. Then we wrote a sacrifice or prayer on each flower. They would say things like, “I will sleep on the floor with no pillow” or “I will pray 3 Divine Mercy Chaplets,” or “I will spend 1 hour in adoration,” or “I will only drink water for 2 days.” Each little bit of suffering can be a prayer if done with the love of God and our neighbor in mind. When we complain or brag about our suffering to others, it turns into a love for ourselves rather then for the good of the one we are praying for.  What my Catholic friends are so excited about is our beloved Catholic faith has given us a scheduled time to suffer in communion with one another. One friends status said, “…it is the time focus on something other than Recess Peanut Butter cups…” Oh, that is SO true. That feeling I get when I see chocolate should be channeled to something…or someone much, much greater. -He will take the "little death" in every act of self-denial and turn it into a shining testimony to his resurrection.-The Word Among Us. Daily Meditations for Lent 

I want to keep my blogs positive but I am still bothered, after a year, about one of my Protestant friends status. On Ash Wednesday, he posted all the indulgences he had eaten that day and a stab at the ridiculous Catholic custom of fasting. I don’t lump him in the category of what every non-Catholic believes but I do hope that he and others with like-minded thinking reads this blog. Catholics who choose to suffer do so, so they can focus on God and not the luxuries of life. Another example is the unintentional suffering…a terminal cancer, a loss of a child, loss of a job. Where to do people turn when they suffer naturally? God, of course. People fall to their knee’s in desperation. The one’s who choose to suffer do the same. I don’t know about you but I would so much rather choose what my suffering is going to be rather then taken by surprise. Are you hearing me God? Please, no surprises!  

The Christy’s have some customs that we like to do every so often. We are not consistent but that's ok. There will be more memories when we change things up. This year, we are coloring a Stations of the Cross book, tearing out the pages and taking advantage of our newly painted and naked walls. We will tape them up and do the Stations right in our own house. We normally go to church on Friday afternoons and participate in theirs or take a short trip to the Franciscan Center in Independence and hike their Stations of the Cross trail. We will have to find time for that. The kids love it. The kids made their own Journey through Lent poster. They color in a stepping stone each day until Easter. We will attend adoration and daily Mass more often, hopefully 3 days a week. I’m getting excited already! Lastly, we have a list on our refrigerator about what each one of us has given up. If we don’t write it down, the kids will be changing their mind based on what their current indulgence is. I know that feeling all too well. What are we giving up? NOT TELLING! It is between me and God and whoever visits and reads it off our refrigeratorJ
Journey through Lent
We made a crown of thorns out of flour, salt & water.
The kids add the "thorns" to represent our sins.
After every good deed that any of us do, we remove a "thorn" to ease Jesus' suffering

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