Blessed Lent! How are you making out so far? Welcome to the Great Combat.

“After our first brave efforts of Lent, our natural inclinations tend to reassert themselves. Temptations may increase their strength or their frequency. Hence the danger of discouragement and of slackening in the observance of generous lenten resolutions. It is the critical hour, in which temptation may surprise us, turn our thoughts inward upon personal problems, and make us forget the sufferings of other men. Brother to all men, Jesus showed that temptation can be a way of redeeming souls–our own and those of others. “In that He Himself has suffered and has been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted””(Heb. 2:18)

Temptations are opportunities to grow in sanctity. Such things are allowed by God only to the extent we are capable of resisting. God, who is Infinite Love, could not possibly allow us to be tempted beyond our capacity to do the right thing, by cooperating with the graces being poured out. With every single temptation, HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE.  (2 Cor 12:9)

Blessed Lent! How we making out, folks? We’ve only just begun! You’ve got this, and you have help. As we heard in Psalm 90:4-5 three times today at Mass…

“The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield.” 

More on that HERE.

I thought I would share a little of what I am doing, and not doing, this Holy Lent.

First of all, thank goodness for the Immoderate Zeal admonition last week, because I was indeed about to bite off way more than I could chew. I have been wanting to get back to the Divine Office, which I used to pray a decent amount of the N.O. version when I was N.O.  Then came the day the meditation was a sermon from Pope Paul VI, and I had had enough. Anyway, I knew there was no way I could do the old Breviary, but then someone recommended the Little Office of The Blessed Virgin Mary. I was very much looking forward to making it a habit this Lent!

Oops. I had not bothered to crack it open until Shrove Tuesday, so I could learn how to pray it beginning Wednesday. That is when I discovered it wasn’t going to work. Even with the time I pledged to steal back from the internet and other things time-suck, I still wasn’t going to have time for the Little Office, at least not consistently and whole-heartedly. Womp.

For the same reason, I decided against trying for 15 decades of the Rosary every day instead of five. I knew I would not be consistent, or else something else would need to come off the table. My day job is also especially demanding right now, and this blog takes some time too.

So here is where I settled: Daily Mass (or at least time in front of the Blessed Sacrament)… bottom line, be in church in some way every day. Daily Rosary, of course. Minimize social media and internet in general. An increase in partial fasting and partial abstinence six days a week.

Now here are the committed daily additions. These aren’t new acquisitions of mine, just newly practiced daily with rigor (or is it rigidity?).

  1. Benedictus missal.  It comes in the mail each month, and it’s only $5. In addition to the Mass propers, there is a miniature office with short psalms for morning and evening, as well as a daily meditation.
  2. My Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. Should need no introduction. Short daily meditations focused on our fallen nature which will pummel you into humility whether you like it or not.
  3. Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. Two meditations and a sample colloquy for each day of the year, rooted in Teresian spirituality. Today’s chapter is aptly titled, “The Great Combat.”

I find that My Imitation and Divine Intimacy make for a nice counterbalance. While both aim toward sanctity through humility, the former does so through Fear of the Lord, the latter through love and union.

Off we go. I’m really liking it so far. Blessed Lent, everyone.

3 thoughts on “Blessed Lent! How are you making out so far? Welcome to the Great Combat.”

  1. I started reading Divine Intimacy during the lockdown. It has been part of my evening prayers since then. What a blessing!

  2. I recently subscribed to Benedictus and love it too. Also, I ordered My Imitation of Christ and wow what a treasure trove of wisdom and insight about Our Lord. I try to read a page a day. I will be ordering Divine Intimacy as well. I’m loving your blog – wonderful articles and book suggestions. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.