What’s trending right now in the media: not the subject of this post. However, if you’re okay with the idea of keeping an open mind, I highly suggest that you read this post!
This is the first year that I can honestly say that I looked at the season of Lent with a need for more than its popular Twin Cities cultural value: ‘giving something up, no meat on Fridays, and get yourself to a fish fry if you’re over 80 years old.’
Why am I trying to follow Lent more closely though, right?
This year has been an unbelievable spiritual challenge in ways that I would only be grateful for when seeing the growth it has allowed me, and I’m not going to shy away from this Lenten topic because it’s worth the listen, no matter where you’re at on your faith journey- and I’d like to hear any comments, as always.
I really do believe that YOU don’t choose an authentic faith journey, but it chooses (and pursues) YOU. Another way of putting it: I never envisioned myself writing posts about Lent or anything religious at all, ever. I’m still using this blog to keep up with what’s going on in my life, though, yet by doing so, I don’t mean to cause any feelings of exclusion toward anyone in doing so.
After all, *THE* main reason why I have this blog is this: “If you judge someone, you have no time to love them” (Blessed Mother Teresa), so please believe me when I say that I mean to share this post to benefit every reader, not just the practicing Catholics.
By the way, isn’t Blessed Mother Teresa inspiring?
1. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” -St. Jerome
First of all, here’s a picture of the man giving us the quote:
^^ I will GLADLY ACCEPT all meme suggestions for this image in the comments section.
One day, I realized how little I knew about the Bible when asked what my favorite Bible quote is…(SO LITTLE. So. Little. I never had a “favorite Bible quote” because I didn’t know what to quote!). In that same month, I read something about how to start reading the Bible, which said to start in the ‘Matthew’ section and move to the other three gospels; I’m now on the second, Mark, and I’m amazed at what the Bible contains…people never mention the interesting stuff…I feel like I really did miss out by not reading this book earlier, and I’m only on a second chapter of many! I’m learning a lot through a powerful source. Although I never feel like picking up the Bible, it’s wild how relevant that this book is to my everyday life. So I’ll try to keep my two minutes of reading a few times a week (SMAAAAALL steps).
2. The daily rosary habit
Sometimes, a study abroad experience changes you; I was changed by the presence and power of the rosary in the lives of ‘normal, non-religious-fanatic’ friends and family during my time in Peru. Of *COURSE* I’ll show you a photo of my home city in Peru, if you insist:
The daily rosary habit is going better; using mornings to pray the rosary lead to it taking an hour rather than taking one minute while falling asleep (yes, it made me fall asleep. That’s a pretty sure sign I wasn’t praying the rosary as intended, hehe).
Little things keep me inspired: seeing a rosary hung on my little cousin’s wall, or knowing that even on a hard day, I’ve been able to pray for everyone on a prayer list (blog readers already on there, don’t worry). However, it’s allowed me to understand this elusive ‘Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Savior’ much better, and this is invaluable.
Did you know: through this child pictured above, Jacinta, Mary appeared to her and two other children, and now we have the mysteries of the rosary? These mysteries are the heart of the rosary; they provide meaning! I’ve found this website helpful in keeping me focused while praying (the mind wanders!): Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The links provided made the rosary SO MUCH BETTER, and it’s worth the work due to Mary’s 15 (AMAZING) promises to someone who prays the rosary:
When my heart was the most broken in these past months, journaling about EVERYTHING (how I felt, books I read, stuff I did wrong, little successes, how God is changing my heart, why I’m praying for certain people and what I hope for them), made it all a more calm period despite feelings of being restless for the future in my final year at college.
3. “Teach us to give and not count the cost.” -St. Ignatius de Loyola
If you’ve made it this far, maybe give me one more favor- pray for me about this, pretty please! 🙂
4. Go to God First (Even before your most caring, trustworthy best friend!)
This can be so hard! However, it’s not all that fair to complain about it all to my friends, ultimately. I’ve been complaining/issuing worries to God and realizing how silly the process is (yet sometimes, still necessary)…think about it…I imagine asking God to worry over this perfect life plan that He has in store for me, just because I don’t understand every pain and obstacle. Really, there’s no need for fear or worry (if there’s ever been anything easier said than done….!). When I take my pain to God first, I have more room for joy with my true friends, and this is a huge blessing.
In summary, with prayer, life doesn’t get easier, but it does get a lot more meaningful. Also, I’ll add in something from a Spaniard who gets *right* to the point in everything he says, which is great for allowing people like me to understand what I’m doing wrong (and how to change):
“Don’t you long to shout to those youths who are bustling around you (my note: haha, this is me yelling at myself): Fools! Leave those worldly things that shackle the heart – and very often degrade it – leave all that and come with us in search of Love!”
-St. Josemaria Escriva
Finally, when in doubt if this post was any good, you must throw in some amazing quotes for good measure, plus photos of some blessings recently!
“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!”
-St. Catherine of Sienna
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.”