Rescuing Lent……

How is your Lent going?  Are you keeping all of those penances and promises? 

As I see the mid-point of Lent fast approaching, I realize that I have not been as faithful and consistent as I had hoped, with all of my Lenten resolutions.  In fact, I can only remember one Lent when I felt I made it to the finish line, keeping all of my promises.

I call it my Lenten Springtime, or the Lent of flowers.

About 15 years ago, I met someone who had recently returned to the Church after an absence of over 30 years.  He was very excited and on fire with his re-found faith, but was a bit intimidated by Lent, and had no idea what he might do for penance.  He wanted to choose something very difficult…almost to punish himself, it seemed, for his years away from the Lord.

So, I suggested that together, we offer an extra 1000 prayers and/or sacrifices to Jesus throughout the 40 days of Lent.  That meant a total of 25 offerings each day between us.  He was delighted with the idea of one thousand sacrifices, and we decided to express each offering by a flower of our own choosing.

Making an extra holy hour for example, could be a beautiful long-stemmed red rose, or a magnificent white orchid, while saying an extra decade of the rosary might earn a sunny yellow daffodil.

My friend and I soon became ingenious at collecting our daily tally…..we left food unsalted,went thirsty for an hour, took cool baths/showers, etc.  We scored gorgeous roses with sacrifices like holding our tongue when treated unjustly, or going out of our way to be nice to someone we didn’t especially like. 

We thought up so many penances as well as good deeds to accomplish, that I’m quite sure our guardian angels must have gotten in on the fun.

Each night, we exchanged emails recording that day’s bounty of flowers.  As Easter approached, we were filled with joy, seeing that our goal was in sight.  We worked extra hard during Holy Week to be sure that we would not fall short at the last moment.

When Easter morning finally arrived, we printed out our very long list of well over one thousand flowers of all kinds, colors and fragrances.  With great joy and excitement, I received Jesus in Holy Communion, and presented to Him this lovely spiritual bouquet.

It was a simple Lent, a joyful Lent, a Lent shared with a friend recently renewed in his faith.  Yet, the prayers, the sacrifices and penances had all cost  us….but we hadn’t felt it so much, since our focus was on gathering the most beautiful flowers for Jesus.

Like every season of life, each Lent is different.  But that Lent seemed just about perfect to me.  In a way, it reminds me of Therese who as a little girl, liked to count her sacrifices on a string of beads. 

Sometimes when attempting all of those grown-up, demanding and challenging Lenten practices seems to weigh us down, burden and discourage us, it might be a nudge from the Lord to return to the simple things of a child….like gathering flowers. 

So if your Lent is in need of a bit of “rescuing,” there is still plenty of time to assemble a truly gorgeous bouquet.

But you can be sure that even if you can only manage a bunch of wildflowers, He Who numbers the very hairs of your head will receive them with the greatest Joy!  And one day in Heaven, you will see those very flowers, eternally fresh, fragrant and beautiful at the feet of Jesus.

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10 thoughts on “Rescuing Lent……

  1. Hi Patricia,

    I think when you have a friend to hold you accountable to keeping those Lenten promises it helps a lot! Knowing you’re going to check with the other and reveal your day is a good way to keep it fresh in your memory. Otherwise, it’s easy to make excuses to yourself and promise to do better tomorrow. I think you’re on the right track with that one!

    • Hi Noreen! You are so right about checking in with the other person being a big help. When I collected “flowers” with my friend that Lent, I was so ashamed on days when I hadn’t done my share that I worked twice as hard the next day : ) I guess it’s no accident that the Lord sent out His disciples “two by two”. He knew they would need each other.

      Actually, I think this kind of Lenten penance would be fun to do with children…on a smaller scale perhaps. I think they would enjoy cutting out flowers or something like that…a tangible sign of their sacrifice.

      Thanks, Noreen, for coming by!

  2. Hi Patricia, It’s been such an interesting Lent. Many difficulties and challenges this year that are really serving to stretch me at my core. As you say every season is different.
    Still no fix to the comment problem either and I so miss hearing from you.

    Your in my heart and prayers.
    Blessings and +

    • Dearest Caroline, I miss you too! You have been writing such wonderful posts, and I am doing penance along with you…cause I can’t comment : ) I’ve had migraine marathons and my computer was down with a wretched virus….the first one I couldn’t clear up with my software in the entire history of my computer experience!

      Ah Lent, the Lord is full of surprises…never goes the way we think! Yesterday, hubby and I went off for Mass and Way of the Cross, but we waited and waited and nothing happened. So, I got a bulletin (this was not our parish), and read that they were having a special Mass an hour later with the blessing of the St. Joseph altar. Well, we hadn’t eaten dinner and I knew my husband would not hang around waiting an extra hour for Mass to start and then having a special Mass and blessing for the altar, etc., so we left. I was so disappointed! I think sometimes Jesus likes to choose our penances!

      I hope your uncle is doing better. My heart goes out to you, having been there with my own parents. It is so precious to help them, and to realize the great dignity that comes with advanced age.

      I will write soon via email. As always, praying for our boys!

      Love and a big hug to you,
      Patricia

    • Anne, so good to hear from you. I thought of you yesterday when I was meditating on Jesus carrying His Cross. I remembered the beautiful
      scene from The Passion of the Christ where Our Lord presses His precious Face to the wood of the Cross as if embracing it with such great Love.
      And I thought of you…and how your special word this year is “embrace.” I thought of what it would mean to Jesus if any of us would truly embrace our crosses, truly draw them to ourselves, as He did with His Cross because of His Infinite Love for us.

      It seems to me a hard thing….to love one’s cross enough to truly embrace it.
      Hope you come back after Lent, Anne. I miss your wonderful blog!

      Love,
      patricia

  3. Hi, Patricia, I liked reading about this. I’ll need to try that with my kids next year. This Lent has had its moments. I had such a good time visiting with Jesus yesterday for Adoration. I was so happy to be there with Jesus and the 4 other people in the church at the time. I remembered you in prayer. God Bless You! Love, Colleen

    • Hi Colleen! Sorry to be so late to reply…have been out of town for a few days.
      Yes, I think gathering the flowers would be fun for children. It’s harder than it sounds though : ) _ so it might be a good idea to set a lower daily tally of sacrifices for the young ones.

      One great benefit of doing this is that you are so conscious of looking for oppotunities to meet your goal, that the thought of God and of doing something special for Him is constantly on your mind. Many Carmelite bookstores sell “sacrifice beads”…like the ones St. Therese used to count her sacrifices as a child. There are ten beads strung so that they can slide from one end of the string to the other, and allow a child (or anyone) to keep count.

      Thank you so much for your prayers! I really need them. It’s been a stressful Lent! I’ll pray for you at my adoration time Tuesday. Prayers are the best gift : )

      Just got back tonight…will be over to visit your blog tomorrow.

      Much love,
      Patricia xo

      • Last Sunday I handed out St. Therese sacrifice beads to my 1st and 2nd grade Church school class. My own son misplaced his and was running around yesterday saying, “Where are my sacrifice beads?”

        • Colleen, that’s awesome! What did the little ones say? Are they going to report back to you?
          I hope your son located his missing beads : )
          I’ll be remembering you at adoration tomorrow…especially that you have a most Blessed Holy Week, and a Glorious Easter.

          Patricia xo

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