March 20th

As we continue our journey through the forty days of Lent it is good for us to remind ourselves of why we have giving things up and why we have taken on extra spiritual practices.  The forty days of Lent are a reminder to us of the forty days that Our Lord spent in the desert after His baptism in the Jordan.  These forty days are meant to focus us on mastering our wills and overcoming temptation.

When we give up things that we could ordinarily enjoy, we strengthen our wills so that we might say “no” to temptation when it arises.  Our will is like a muscle: it is strengthened through exercise.  When we give up things, we exercise our free will.  When we give things up for Lent, we ought to give up things that will challenge us: if we give up something that we don’t care much about anyways, we aren’t really exercising our wills.

Offering things up to Our Lord as a spiritual sacrifice helps us to conform ourselves more and more to Him.  Jesus offered Himself up on the Cross for us and He told us that if we want to be His disciples, we must take up our cross and follow Him.  By foregoing things for Lent we, in some small way, unite ourselves to that offering that Jesus made of Himself.

Jesus offered everything that He had to the Father.  We are to imitate Him and offer our whole heart to God.  In order to make of ourselves a pleasing offering to the Father, we have to root sin out of our hearts.  Lent is a time to focus on strengthening our self-will so that we can overcome temptation and grow in virtue.  As we rid our hearts of sin, we make room for God.

While we must do all that we can to root sin out of our hearts, we must also remember that we can do nothing without God’s grace.  Let us ask Our Lord for the graces that we need to be ever more faithful to Him.  May we cooperate with His grace and succeed in strengthening our wills during this holy season.

God bless,

Father White