The Catholic season of Lent is upon us. At AmericanCatholic.org they have come up with a day-by-day through lent exercise of fasting from our clutter. I love it and so I am reflecting on the first and second weeks of their theme. Join me, will you?
~ GETTING READY TO CLEAR MY CLUTTER ~
Jl 2:12-18; 2 Cor 5:20—6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 Today’s readings give me basic instructions for the next 40 days. As a first step to clearing my heart and mind of clutter, I arrange a quiet prayer corner in which to talk to God. I find a suitable place in my home and stock it with a Bible, a notebook, pens (and this Update!). Today, and every day this Lent, I will spend time with God, reading over the Scriptures for the day, listening to what God is saying to me, and writing down what I hear.
THURSDAY: WHAT AM I GAINING—AND LOSING?
Dt 30:15-20; Lk 9:22-25 This culture urges me to do so much. In what ways is the rush and busy-ness of my life not truly necessary, but an effort to win the approval of others—in other words, to “gain the whole world”?
FRIDAY: REACH OUT TO OTHERS
Is 58:1-9a; Mt 9:14-15 Before I can reach out to those in need, I must be able to reach out. I talk to God today about areas of life where I neglect myself and compromise my health. Am I eating the wrong foods? Not getting enough sleep? Constantly stressed? Any of these habits will make me less able to serve God and God’s people.
SATURDAY: BE KIND TO MYSELF
Is 58:9b-14; Lk 5:27-32 The tax collector Levi’s change of heart came about because Jesus showed him kindness and friendship. I talk to God about any changes I should make in my self care in order to do as Jesus did. I ask for God’s help in making these changes in order to be able to do God’s will.
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
~ CLEARING MY SURROUNDINGS OF CLUTTER ~
Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12-15; Lk 4:1-13 I do not live “by bread alone.” If the only meaning of life was food, clothes or work, how meaningless it would be. Lent is a wonderful time to remind myself that God’s presence is what gives life meaning. I begin Lent by starting a “give away” box and praying about what I have that could be used by someone in need.
MONDAY: BE HOLY AS GOD IS HOLY
Lv 19:1-2, 11-18; Mt 25:31-46 Does clutter and disorganization interfere with my growth in holiness? Today is a good day to begin paring down. I look through my kitchen for five or more items to give away.
TUESDAY: EXPECTING THE KINGDOM?
Is 55:10-11; Mt 6:7-15 Does my home look as though I am expecting and praying for God’s Kingdom? Why or why not? I let go of more clutter by going through bookshelves for five or more books I could donate.
WEDNESDAY: A SIGN OF GOD’S LOVE
Jon 3:1-10; Lk 11:29-32 I can be a sign of God’s love to the world by living more simply and passing on my excess to those in need. Today, I gather five or more blankets, sheets or towels to give away.
THURSDAY: THE FATHER KNOWS MY NEEDS
Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Mt 7:7-12 Am I in the habit of asking God to provide for my needs? Today, I look through drawers, on closet shelves and in storage areas for five or more items to donate.
FRIDAY: IF I REPENT, I WILL BE SAVED
Ez 18:21-28; Mt 5:20-26 Like many in this culture, I need to repent of my excess. Today, I search through my clothes for five or more items to give away.
SATURDAY: BE PERFECT AS GOD IS PERFECT
Dt 26:16-19; Mt 5:43-48 I have gathered at least 25 items to donate. How does it feel? Do I feel relief and freedom? Grief? Uncertainty? I trust that I do not need things to be happy. Today, I take my “give away” box to a favorite charity.