By Sister Marietta Wethington
My mother, a very wise woman, used to tell me not to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I can do that quite easily. I can exaggerate the smallest thing into something insurmountable.
The book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and it’s All Small Stuff contains some practical suggestions for making peace with the imperfections in our life. We are beginning the season of Lent – a perfect time – it seems to me to let go of the small stuff. A perfect time to focus on Jesus and his journey to Mount Calvary.
The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. How can we use them to help us let go of the small stuff? Prayer can draw us into the heart of God and help us to more fully realize that God loves us unconditionally. Prayer can strengthen us inwardly and make us better persons. Prayer is not just for us though. Prayer must empower us to reach out to those around us and help them in their needs. Jesus is a perfect model for showing us the way. Spending time with Jesus by reading scripture will teach us a lot about relating to others.
Fasting is the second pillar. When we fast from food we can use it as a reminder that our real hunger is for God. Only God can satisfy our deep down longings. We can also use it as a time to pray for all those food deprived persons who do not have the luxury of fasting. For those who do not fast for reasons of age or health, your fasting may take the form of giving up critical thoughts and negativity. When we were novices our director told us to be careful of our thoughts because they determine who we are. Fasting might take the form of giving up some of our television and social media time. Find a good spiritual reading book to fill up the time and add enrichment to your life.
The third pillar of almsgiving might be a little more difficult. How can we practice that? You might give up a favorite treat during lent or plan a very simple meal one night a week and donate the money to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. You are limited only by your imagination.
Lent is a good time to let go of the small stuff and set our eyes and heart on higher realms.
How can I use Lent to enrich my spiritual life and draw me more deeply into the heart of God?