Lent starts Wednesday, and I think that one of the things I'm going to focus on the most during this season of penance is carefully noticing which messages I choose to hear...and which messages I choose to ignore.
I too feel convicted of being too negative and I have been told that I am way too judgmental by several people in the last while, including the commenter on my last post. So in the spirit of trying to be less judgmental and more aware of what is truly important and what can be dismissed, I will resolve to tackle that attitude in myself this Lent.
Father Tom Euteneuer of Human Life International just sent out an email the other day with advice for Lenten practices. He advises not undertaking one of those penances that are too closely tied in with losing weight or quitting smoking, in other words, using Lent to reform bad habits. Instead he advises:
....identify and practice faithfully just one really magnificent goal for your personal conversion this Lent. I say conversion and not "personal improvement" lest anyone interpret the call to spiritual discipline as a chance to lose weight or quit smoking! What Lent demands of us is to look into our vicious, slothful and petty nature and challenge it with the full prophetic force of the Gospel. A well-intentioned person who stacks up a dozen goals for personal change but accomplishes few or none of them is not a better person at the end of Lent. He is more scattered, less disciplined and under a the illusion of false piety thinking that he is doing something holy by multiplying activities without transforming his heart. In contrast, the one who targets his habit of petty backbiting with a shock-and-awe campaign of generosity toward those he finds disagreeable is the one who receives a blessing from the Lord because he acts like John the Baptist who Jesus said "took the Kingdom by storm." Any mature person will know that a single, firm and effective intention to convert one's heart is worth more than a thousand acts of superficial piety. - Father Tom Euteneuer, Human Life International
So, in the spirit of being positive, I thought I would give you a link to a blog that tells the story of the birth of a little girl. The story is remarkable, because the mother shares her real feelings publicly about having a Down Syndrome child. If you ever wanted to read something that affirms life and love without hesitation, then click here and "be prepared to weep" as my daughter told me when she sent me this link.
Nella Cordelia: A Birth Story