Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Proof: Not in the Pudding if You Gave Up Sweets

It's that time of year again. Lent: the forty days most of us dread, whether we admit it or not, because no one in their right mind likes to do without. Nobody wants to give up sweets,or coffee, or video games -- and fasting and abstaining from meat are no fun! Lent is no fun! But, alas, that's the point.

It's not a sacrifice if it's easy, and it's not a good Lent if you're not at least a little uncomfortable for the next 39 days. What would be the point otherwise? What would we prove?

Because, you know, it is about proving something.

* We're proving, first and foremost, that we understand Christ's sacrifice for us on Calvary, the fact that it was more than just a little uncomfortable for Him: that it hurt; that He felt very real and very human pain on that Friday in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago; that He did it voluntarily to prove His love for us: and that we can voluntarily inflict a little physical discomfort upon ourselves to show our love right back to Him.

* We're proving our self-knowledge: that we have sins to make up for.

* We're proving that we are, with His help, stronger than the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. By exercising our will against very concrete and physical desires, we build spiritual, mental, and even physical muscles.

*  We're proving to the devil that we know he tries to mislead us with the pleasures of the world and we aren't so stupid as to be misled! We can give up the pleasures of the world for a greater good! And that old Loser can just go soak his head!

*  We're proving to ourselves that we're made of tough stuff, that we're stronger than rumbly tummies and caffeine headaches.  The power of our own wills, our own decision to choose good Lenten sacrifices and stick them through to the end is the very same force that will save our souls in the very very end. We need to know this about ourselves; we need to feel the power of our own wills -- because God will always help us, but in the end, we must save our own souls. It has to be our decision, and it's vital to work on the muscles of our will for God and to know that we're strong and capable of winning.

Lent does that.  It proves all these things. Our sacrifices prove them.

So, let's all get out there now and "give it up" for Lent!

 (And remember, no whining or fussing!  There are no wimps or crybabies here.  We can do this thing and smile with the effort!)

Hang in there!  We can do this thing, and do it well!

No comments: