Tag Archives: Inspiriation

2nd Sunday of Lent – Promises

Sunrise Promise

Study:  Consider moments when you have made and kept a truly important promise.  How did that promise inspire and help you grow?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the gift to trust in His promises.  Pray for guidance to follow Christ – even when it is difficult.

Serve:  How can you help someone who is striving to keep their promise of faith?

2nd Sunday of Lent Readings

Growing up, I earned money by baby sitting.  I watched a number of kids (that is, until I got a driver’s license…), and I learned several valuable lessons.  One of the things I discovered was not to promise to do something unless I was absolutely certain I could carry it out.  If something went wrong and I had to change plans, the kids would shout, “You PROMISED!!!!”

Promises have tremendous power.  A promise can inspire us, offering strength and hope in our moments of weakness.  Promises are a sign of our trust in the word of another.  We accept a promise when we believe that another person will live up to an agreement or contract.

There are two crucial elements about promises:  making them and keeping them.  Making a promise means that we invite another into a relationship of trust.  Keeping a promise means that we fulfill our agreement through our words and deeds.

Both of these elements are necessary.  If we only make promises (without fulfilling them) then our word is meaningless, and people are unable to count on us in a time of need.  Yet if our fear of action holds us back from making promises, then we will never be considered by others as approachable or accessible; we become distant and separated from other people.

In the Scriptures today we see God’s promises extended to Abram and Jesus.  Abram is promised God’s blessing and prosperity upon himself and his descendants.  Jesus, revealed through his transfiguration, is promised the glory that will be fulfilled through his death and resurrection.

For Abram and Jesus, life will not be easy.  Difficulties and sorrows will accompany their path through life.  Yet the promises revealed in these readings show that they will be sustained in their trials.  God’s promises will give both hope and life.

These promises belong to us as well.  Like Abram and Jesus, we know the struggle and challenge that can occur in life.  There are moments when we look to God’s promises to be made and kept, that we might persevere in our desire to live a good and holy life.  May we accept the Lord’s promise of strength and guidance, trusting that as we live according to our faith in Christ, we are confident that the Lord is near.


Preparations for Lent

Cross

Study:  Looking back in my life, are there any activities, people, or situations that have helped me to grow?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the wisdom to recognize the Fruits of the Spirit and the courage to embrace them.

Serve:  Look for an opportunity this Lent to offer a part of your life to helping another – especially someone who has no way to pay you back.

The season of Lent offers a powerful opportunity for conversion, spiritual growth, and developing our relationships with the Lord and one another.  However, I also know that this season has a way of sneaking up on us.  Life moves fast, and we can get caught up in any number of tasks – missing the necessary preparation and perspective to get the most out of these 40 Days.

As a guide, I suggest starting with the “Fruits of the Spirit” that St. Paul writes about in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23).  They are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

First, do we see these in our lives?  Are there people, situations, interactions, locations (home, work, school, community) where we see consistent evidence of their presence?  If so, then how can we help them flourish and grow?  How can we create more opportunities to allow the Spirit to work in our lives?

Second, are these absent in our lives?  Or worse, are their opposites present?  Is hatred, despair, turmoil, and the like alive in our hearts?  If so, how can we make the necessary changes to allow the Spirit into our lives?

Now here’s how this gets practical.  It is often customary during Lent to “do” something or “give up” something for these 40 days.  How about this…

  1. “Do” something that fosters the Fruits of the Spirit in my life.
  2. “Give up” something that is in conflict with the Fruits of the Spirit.

Where do we look?  Try this for starters…

  1. WHAT we do – the Activity
  2. WHO we do it with – the People
  3. WHERE we do it – the Location

“Doing” can include any number of things:

  • Helping a neighbor, family member or friend – in a spirit of kindness and gentleness
  • Drawing near to people who are spiritually good – who make us more loving and peaceful
  • Spending time on activities that help us use God’s talents in a good and holy way
  • Concentrating our efforts on opportunities where we know that God is present
  • Being in locations and situations that foster a strong and healthy life

“Giving up” can look like this:

  • Is there anything destructive, harmful, unholy, or evil that needs to be removed?
  • Are there people who are leading us to harm or destruction?
  • Are there locations, situations, or circumstances that are unholy for us?

Using the “Fruits of the Spirit” as a measurement, we can quickly reveal the pattern of our lives.  If it is spiritually fruitful, then we can strengthen this.  If it is spiritually destructive, then perhaps this season of Lent gives us an opportunity to give it up and start directing our lives in better ways.

Furthermore, Lent has classic opportunities for Study, Prayer, and Service:

Study: Scripture, the Catechism, a Devotional, Spiritual Reading

Prayer: Mass, Confession, Rosary, Scripture, Devotions, Stations of the Cross

Service: at home, the neighborhood, the community, the Church

God keeps inviting, keeps forgiving, and keeps extending grace and mercy to all who seek it.  Now is the time to get ready for a powerful Lent – where we turn to Jesus and allow His grace to transform our hearts.  Give serious thought to what you can do to make this season special, and open your to heart to Jesus Christ.

What will you do?  What will you give up?  Make it a great Lent!