Lent: Period of Purification and Enlightenment
Lent is a period of 40 days through which we open ourselves to purification and enlightenment in God. In the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, Lent is a time of deeper preparation for the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Communion at Easter. For all of the Christian faithful, it is a time to reflect, to recall how we've strayed from God's desires for us, and to prepare our hearts to renew our Baptismal promises at Easter.
To really get to the root of our temptations and sins, we need to notice the patterns of our temptations and sins. When are we are most tempted? What attracts us to any particular sin? When we begin to pay attention to the patterns of our sinfulness, we can begin to allow God to strengthen us to avoid those patterns of temptation and sin.
I am usually most tempted when I am overwhelmed or tired. When I am overwhelmed, I get impatient and irritable. When I am tired, I lack self-control and so give in to gluttony and acedia (sloth or laziness).
What can I do to become more aware of and avoid these temptations? When I'm overwhelmed, I can stop, take some deep breaths, go for a walk - even a brief walk, practice centering prayer (silence) or pray another prayer, such as the Prayer of Breathing - inhale in the presence of God and exhale all my anxieties and tensions.
When I am tired, I can take a short nap, or if I don't have time for a nap, go for a brief walk, do some simple stretching, or pray to relax and re-energize.
Lord, help me to become aware of my patterns. I cannot recognize, resist, or heal from my temptations and sins on my own. I need your Spirit of awareness and strength to guide me and empower me. When I am falling into temptation, nudge me with the inspiration of your Spirit to pull me out of the temptation, to re-focus on your presence with me. Help me to replace my temptations with something good - a prayer, a breath, a movement, a service to another. Lord, walk with me on this path and guide me with your Light and Truth. Amen.
Image from borum kim on Unsplash