Renewing Our Commitment to Christ during Lent.
Lent is a time when the Church invites us to
pay special attention to God's Word
, to the truth that Christ came to reveal to us - so that we don't forget what's most important.
As an example, here's a story about a man named López and he was a Christian knight from the north of Spain. He inherited all the swashbuckling worldliness of the flashiest Spanish knights, and as a young man he threw himself into the battles with France that raged in the borderlands surrounding his home. However, in the midst of one skirmish he was blasted with a cannonball and had to spend months in bed, recuperating. Bored stiff, he asked for some romance novels to read. None were available in the castle, but there was a
Life of Christ
Ludolph of Saxony
and a few volumes of lives of the saints. Just to pass the time, he began to read them. Soon he began to enjoy them.
By the time he recovered, López had become firmly convinced of the vanity of earthly glory. He made a pilgrimage and began leading a truly Christian life, laying deep foundations of intense and heartfelt prayer and building up an impressive spiritual dedication to self-denial, charity, and a love of the Kingdom of Christ. He then took up studies for the priesthood in Europe's greatest university, even though he was twice as old as most of the students. In Paris he gathered some fellow students around him and convinced them to dedicate their lives completely to serve the cause of Christ.
That group, known as the "Society of Jesus", became the seed of the a religious order which arguably has had more of an impact on the world than any other institution besides the Church itself. Since the foundation of that group - also known as the
- in 1541, there has never been a day in which the earth has not been blessed with the presence of a Jesuit, even with the difficulties that the order has encountered over the centuries. The young man López, also known as Íñigo López de Loyola or simply
Ignatius of Loyola
, was later canonized as a saint. And this all started because a young man began to actively feed his soul with truth instead of just feeding his body with bread.
From seemingly simple beginnings amazing things can happen, in the 21st as well as the 16th Century. There are many ways to do this. It could be as simple as spending fifteen minutes a day reading and reflecting on the Scriptures. It could mean taking more time to turn off the noise all around us and read, calmly and reflectively, a good spiritual book or a biography of Jesus Christ. It could mean taking one of the weekends during Lent to go on a retreat - to go somewhere away from our normal surroundings and rediscover God's forgiveness and wisdom. It could mean finally following through on the commitment made long ago to really take time to study the
- that hidden treasure house of Catholic doctrine and wisdom to which we pay far little attention.
Each day Jesus renews his commitment to us by coming once again, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and by offering himself to us as the true bread from heaven in Holy Communion. Most especially when we are there to witness as he does, but also during those times when we are not, let's renew our commitment to him.
If Lent has faded into the background since Ash Wednesday, let's decide how we can best respond during to revitalize our faith during this time "in the spiritual desert" to whatever inspiration God has placed in our hearts. Because Jesus doesn't want this Lent to be "just another Lent." He has something he wants to do for each one of us, something that will help us grow in our knowledge of the truth and in our ability to live accordingly. Let's follow the example of Lopez and give Jesus the chance.
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Attend what you can in preparing for the glory of Easter
If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity.
St. Ignatius of Loyola
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
eBook (34 minutes) -
How to be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint
"Life, in the end, has only one tragedy: not to have been a saint."
The ever-popular and prolific Peter Kreeft says that the most important question he has written about is how one becomes holy, or to put it another way, how one becomes a saint. This question is central to all the great religions, and Kreeft demonstrates striving toward holiness and moving toward perfect love is the whole purpose of life. Kreeft admits that he is only a beginner on the climb to holiness, and it is to novices like him that he has written this engaging and encouraging book. Using the insights and experiences of saints and great spiritual writers throughout history, Kreeft shows what holiness is and how it can be achieved. He especially draws upon the spiritual classic
Abandonment to Divine Providence
by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. The core of Caussade's timeless gem is that God reveals himself to all of us through the daily events of our lives. The surest way toward spiritual growth, therefore, is perceiving and accepting the merciful will of God in every situation. Kreeft stresses the simplicity of his approach to holiness, which focuses mainly on the virtue of love. Sanctity is love, he asserts, and only that can give us what we all long for—deep and lasting joy.
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Sent by Fr. Ed Blanchett on Friday, February 23 at 3:00PM