If you hear his voice, says the Psalms, harden not your hearts.   Lent is upon us once again. It pops up yearly as we trudge down that path of choices we call life. As described in this clip of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we are defined by our choices. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwah1-07o0M

  • Lent is a time to reflect, take stock of our personal center (my center is Philippians 2:5), and make all things new in, with, and through Christ Jesus. 
  • Lent is a penance time, in reparation for the hurt our sins and negligences have cause to God and others. The choices that we have made for the flesh instead of the spirit must be transformed by allowing Christ to increase and me to decrease. (Capacitas dei)
  • Lent is the season for a recommitment to Christ as our center, of death to my false self, embracing the sign of contradiction, the cross,  that makes no sense whatsoever to the world but enlightens my world and, through me, those around me. 
  • Lent is a time to recharge my batteries. If I am a battery with my capacity for God used up, my recharger is Christ through the Holy Spirit, to the glory of the Father. What happens if I don’t recharge my battery? My daily choices to have Christ Jesus’s mind become more susceptible to the temptation that all this penance is just a rouse for some la-la land.
  • Lent is a time to fill up in me that my own abilities or capabilities cannot fulfill. I recommend the following Lenten penitential exercise to move from your false self to your true self. Remember, it is not you doing the moving but Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

  LENTEN PENANCE   The Holy Spirit is always at work, inserting opportunities for each of us to make choices that energize our weak human nature. If we respond to what the Holy Spirit presents to us, we move forward.  One such opportunity for me was George and Sandra Maule, both Lay Cistercians, who called me to see how I was doing. This was to be more than just a wonderful chat about all things Lay Cistercian, which it was. They recommended that I read the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s book, The Life of Christ. I had not read it, but they said it is a must-read. See how the Holy Spirit works? https://amzn.to/3aqhvDN    Now comes the terrifying part of what the Holy Spirit does. I am offering you the opportunity to read Archbishop Sheen’s book for Lent, a chapter every day (they are short but packed chapters), and reflecting on them. Does it take time? Sure. It also takes time to recharge your Tesla Electric automobile. It is time you take with Jesus that shows you how much you love Him. One other thing, I ask you to share this post with others that you love.   

If I recommended that you read only one book, not including the Sacred Scriptures, it would be this transformative one about the Life of Christ as seen through the Faith experiences of Archbishop Sheen.   Here is the free pdf for your download. https://sacredheartshrine.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Life-of-Christ-Fulton-J.-Sheen.pdf

If you feel extra ambitious, you might try reading Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict every day in Lent (and beyond) with the prayer that you become what you read. https://christdesert.org/prayer/rule-of-st-benedict/

Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology

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