How's your Lent going?

Why Catholics Sit, Kneel, Bow and Stand

Thankfully, this year Lent has not completely gotten away from me as it did, last year. For that I credit the help of my Breviary – (psalmody is so very powerful and grounding, when we commit to it) and Anthony Bloom’s Beginning to Pray, and also the Gospels, which I have been reading chapter-by-chapter each night with a notebook and a bit more care than usual. Just now, I’m liking the Ignatius Bible, and its simple presentation, a lot. Don’t you find that you use different bibles at different times?

Deacon Greg does a Lenten checkpoint in this week’s homily, which he just posted:

A lot of us find ourselves in that situation during Lent – suddenly doing something out of habit that we had sworn to give up. Fundamentalists might call it backsliding. But I think it’s part of what makes us human — what makes our Lenten journey so challenging – and so vital.
In the early part of the last century, one of the great witnesses to the faith was a Carmelite nun, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Most of us know her better as Edith Stein. She was born to a German Jewish family in 1891…became an atheist…but was baptized a Catholic in 1922. Eleven years later, she entered the cloister. And in 1942, she lost her life at Auschwitz. Today she is recognized as a saint.
In the early 1930s, she gave a lecture and spoke of what it takes to be a Christian.

“Whoever belongs to Christ,” she said, “must go the whole way with him. He must mature to adulthood. He must one day or other walk the way of the cross to Gethsemane and Golgotha.”

Well, that puts in perspective the idea of giving up chocolate for Lent, doesn’t it?

That reminds me a little of something I read in Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality,:

Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement.

I’m telling you, that’s a surprisingly great, plain-speaking little book:

If it wasn’t for people, we could all be holy. But it really isn’t other people who make or break us. We are the ones who make or break us.

Deacon Greg also has a very nice, different, meditation, here.

I find I am also being helped by abandoning all of the usual radio stations when I drive – no talk radio, no commercial blaring pop-rock – and keeping the dial set on the classical station. Over the past week I have been surprised at how much more grounded I feel for not having all that bombast and chatter with me in the car (except that hearing Lyadov’s Eight Russian Folksongs for Orchestra had me scrambling to find a CD of it.)

If the classical station is not pleasing me, I fall back on some CD’s I’ve loaded for Lent. The Russian Easter one is particularly prayerful while Russian Chant for Vespers is stirring. I’m also listening to An Die Musik (Schubert Lieder) by Bryn Terfel – (I like the way Buster sings it, better, but then I’m his mother), Easter Chant by the Monastic Choir of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault, Musical Evenings with the Captain (Music from the Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O’ Brian) and Sumi Jo’s Prayers CD.

The truth is, even the music is left for the car. At home, everything is silent in the daytime. No tv, no radio.

I cannot tell you how fruitful and productive
it has been in my life to shut off the noise that fills up the spaces between the self and the soul.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • sjreidhead

    I don’t know about you, but I’m having a good Lent. I’m trying not to swear (blew it today), and went 3 whole days without doing so. More importantly, I had one of those moments of real insight about something the other day.

    Years ago a group prayed against me – prayed that none of my writing, books, plays, etc. would ever be published because I wasn’t writing in their accepted rather Baptist religious mode. I think it is what turned me away from organized religion for so long. The other day I was praying for the person I love most in this world, praying that he would not be offered a certain position. I realized I was just as bad as the people who prayed against me.

    How many of us insert our desires for someone into our prayers for them? I realized the person I was praying for has his own destiny in the Lord. How dare I pray for my will for him (and me)? So, I’ve turned him over to the Lord.

    Thy will be done.

    The Pink Flamingo

  • Ruth Anne

    This post made me run to Confession today. I got there just as the priest was about to leave for lack of penitents. Thanks so much!

  • ultraguy

    It is a blessing that you are writing so regularly and intimately about your Lenten experience, A. Keep it up!!

    I too have found that “turning off the world” is helping me to be both more centered on Christ and able to confront the world with his truth when the Holy Spirit calls me to do so. That’s been helped by our local talk station going off the air at about the same time I was already ‘pruning’ my podcasts to more spiritual and uplifting material. I think of it not as withdrawal but, as you imply, a gathering of power when the world wants to take it away from us.

    Last year I was determined to “do” Lent (by giving up alcohol). This year, I am letting it wash over me and finding that, in doing so, God helps me to pray longer and deeper and opens up scripture in ways I never thought possible.

    One quick note on reading through the gospels chapter-by-chapter. I am doing the one-year-bible series and finding remarkable parallels, on any given day, between old and new testaments (e.g., between Joseph in Egypt and Christ’s mission on earth). They start popping out when you read them side by side.

    Keep letting the Holy Spirit flow to your keyboard, A!!

  • toirdhealbheach beucail

    Thank for the Lenten sugestion. I have done likewise and purged my lenten season of talk radio, internet news, written material, and the usual websites I visit. What I have found is that my life is calmer, more focused, and deeper. I have accomplished more in the last two weeks than I have in a long time – and I can date it to the start of Lent.

    What a blessing! Keep it up!

  • Pingback: Webelf Report Blogroll « The WebElf Report