[During Lent, Diocesan Publications offers daily Lenten reflections from a variety of guest bloggers. To receive these in your mailbox, please fill out the “Subscribe” box below the post. May you have a blessed Lent! – Editor]
Here we are one day into Lent! Some of us really know how to conquer Lent and don’t have a problem with it, while the rest of us lowly individuals probably forgot yesterday that bacon does in fact count as meat. I place myself in that final category.
I have always struggled with Lent, but I think that’s because I grew up with a misunderstanding about what Lent really is. I grew up thinking that Lent was a time to suffer, to give up the things we love, and to be miserable for the sake of being miserable. I think anyone with a brain would detest this idea of Lent and while Lent may include suffering and sacrifice, it is really about change.
Just as we have seasons throughout the year we also have seasons in the Church. I know that every year I get excited for fall. The leaves change, it gets a little colder, there are more bonfires, and I love Halloween and Thanksgiving. But the thing I love most is the changing color of the leaves. Every season brings with it some sort of change and whether we like that change or not, it helps bring us to the next season.
For example, I am not a huge fan of winter, but winter has to come in order for us to get to spring. It has to freeze so that eventually it can thaw and allow the trees to bud and bring about beautiful fruit. Sometimes we have to go through something that may not be ideal in order to get to the things that really make us joyful.
It is the same with Lent. Some of us may not be particularly fond of the sacrifice and struggle that comes with Lent, but the more we allow ourselves to change throughout this season, the more fruitful we will be in our daily lives.
Although sacrifice may sometimes hurt, it ultimately makes us stronger and brings us to greater joy. Instead of going into Lent with a negative attitude about sacrifice, let’s all look to the sacrifice of the cross and be thankful that Christ was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice in order that we might be changed.
“Jesus Christ has taken the lead on the way of the cross. He has suffered first. He does not drive us toward suffering but shares it with us, wanting us to have life and to have it in abundance.” ~St. John Paul II
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” ~Luke 9:23
Tommy Schultz is a full time speaker who was most recently the Director of youth and young adult ministries for the Diocese of Baker, OR. As an experienced speaker on all things Catholic, he has addressed thousands of teens and young adults on topics such as the Sacraments, chastity, and boldly living the Catholic faith. He has given many talks and hosted retreats across the nation. Driven by his passion for Theology of the Body, Tommy studied at the Theology of the Body Institute and has spoken at numerous Theology of the Body conferences. From 2012-2013, he served as a missionary of purity, speaking to over 20 thousand youth about the message of purity across the state of Pennsylvania. He is also a founder of the Corpus Christi Theology of the Body campus organization at Franciscan University. To book Tommy for an event or for further information please visit www.tommy-shultz.com.