Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The soul craves Lent

Last year's post on Lent:

And for a more in-depth understanding of the season:

The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Bouguereau

I'm pretty sure I speak for most of the Catholics I know when I say that our souls are craving Lent this year. I confess that I do not always look forward to the austerity that comes with the penitential season. But this year… whoa, boy. This year is different. Don't you all feel it? We've been soft and weak for too long. It's time to get serious about sacrifice, and it's time to dive headlong into prayer, almsgiving, fasting, reparation -- and into the precious wounds of Our Crucified Lord.

So much of our deep need for Lent this time around comes from what we see playing out on the political stage, watching the nation we love slip further and further away from her Judeo-Christian foundations while government leaders -- at all levels and with growing speed and disrespect -- attempt to push our beloved Church and her good works to the margins of society. It's okay. We've been waaaaaay too comfortable. Christianity is not about comfort and convenience, it's about truth, goodness and beauty. And it's about sacrificial love. In fact, true love (caritas/agape) and sacrifice (an offering of something dear) are inseparable. Gaze upon a crucifix. What do you see? The enormity of a Love that sacrifices all.

In the spirit of the season and of not wanting to blur the line between the sacred and the profane, I will lay off the political blogging for these forty days. Ultimately, politics and governments are temporal. They are passing away. In the end, they are not important.

Jesus' words to us are important:
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. -- Matthew 7:13-14
Debating politics and fighting the culture war are honorable endeavors, but they alone will not make us holy. The Lord wants a contrite heart. So for the duration of the Lenten season, I will try to write about spiritual things, things of the Faith, things that bring people -- all people -- closer to the heart of the eternal God who made and loves them.

For the next forty days, let's get to the only thing that matters: Holiness.

My soul is craving it.

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise Thee
Forever and ever.


  1. Beautiful, Leila. Man, you said it. So many are craving lent this year. Its so cool to think of all the faithful Catholics united in prayer and sacrifice for our nation this holy season. The Church militant is strong and faithful!

  2. Thank you, Leila. Yes, I was just talking to my husband the other day about how in this day and age, we are all such wimps to suffering! My parish priest mentioned that he finds himself worried for the people during this persecution of the Church, not because he's afraid of persecution, but because we are not accustomed to suffering. We are too used to our freedom and take it for granted. It is a good thing to practice penance during Lent. And boy, that picture brings tears to my eyes!

  3. I am looking forward to your posts during Lent! Thank you, Leila!


  4. My soul has been craving Lent this year! I'm excited to read what you will be writing!

  5. I have been feeling so disheartened about society during all of this HHS Mandate and SGK stuff ... hearing what even some of my closest friends believe has made me literally recoil. It's so hard to know without a doubt that something is so wrong (abortion) and have people argue that it's perfectly okay.

    I look forward to Lent this year, too.

    Also wanted to thank you for your recommendation of the books "Ordinary Path to Holiness" and (I think it was you who recommended it) "The Better Part." They have been a huge source of comfort and guidance lately.

  6. Have a holy Lent, mama, and all your readers. May God continue His holy work in us and magnify what needs our attention this season.

  7. I don't think I have ever craved a Lent before, and this year my soul has been groaning for it.
    Looking forward to journey with you, as I know I will learn so much.

  8. Yes!!! But, Lent and Easter are always my favorite. I need it.

    Now to figure out how to get to mass today.

  9. Yes, Leila, I do feel it. More intensely now than ever in my life. But that goes for much in my life and marriage over the past year. I won't go into details here, but my wife and I have both, individually and together, experienced a (painful, joyful, sorrowful) journey of transcendence over these past few years that can be attributed to nothing less than God's Grace (which I've come to find out simply refuses to work until those pesky sins are shed and left behind). This all seems to be happening at such an opportune time in the history of Christ's Church. I am striving to work out and enhance my understanding, faith, and confidence in Catholicism and the person of Jesus Christ, and I am ever grateful for you and your provision of this space to aid in doing so.

    Thank you, and may this Lent prove to be a time of repentance, reparation, and reunification.

    Love, Justice, Peace

  10. I can't say that I am "craving" Lent, but having been smacked upside the head spiritually recently, I am going to try to take it seriously for the first time, ever.

    Off to work shortly, so I will take a look at the Lenten Workshop link later. I'm looking forward to posts here (keep up the good work, Leila!) and on other faithful Catholic blogs elsewhere.

    Sonja Oh, I know about having friends say things that make you recoil. One dear non-Catholic friend was shocked that Obama would do such a thing with the HHS mandate ("He can't do that!") but when I offered to send her the link to the mandate itself, she declined, saying, "I don't want to stick my head in the sand, but..." Because heaven forbid she and any other Obama fanatic read anything that shows what his true colors are. For many, he is God. Frightening.

  11. Leila, I have been reading your blog for a while but finally, on this first day of Lent, commenting. First of all, I want to say how much I admire your courage to stand for Truth in these difficult times. I'm working on my courage.
    And yes, my soul is craving Lent this year, and as Rebecca commented, "...this year my soul has been groaning for it."

  12. Where is that darn like button? Oh, wait, blogger doesnt have one... :) Well, LIKE LIKE LIKE anyway!

  13. Groaning...that's what my soul has been doing. I don't know how long it has been since I've anticipated the sacrifices of Lent as I have this year. Since my life in the past few years has been one of surrender and sacrifice (not of my own choosing) my attitude toward Lent has been more a "I don't have the strength to impose more sacrifice on myself...God is handling it." This year tho, I have seemed to be counting the moments to intentionally sacrifice & save souls. Awesome!

  14. I love the Anima Christi. Sounds like a perfect Lenten Prayer to me ...

  15. I agree! I know I am craving Lent this year. I need the extra time in prayer and the sacrifice will be good for me. And it looks like us Catholics will continue to get a good dose of humility in our nation.

  16. I'm all for new beginnings and Lent is a new beginning, toward a new emptying, a deeper penitence. The thing I struggle to remember is that it's not about what I DO, but about RECEIVING love on Christ's terms through Mother Church. It's Mother Church who gives me ashes. When I receive them, the response she asks is a simple "amen". Today I'm asked to eat less than normal and remember that I am dust and to dust I will return. That's all. . . but I'm so hyper! I have all these other threads to follow!!! Nope, just fasting and remembering I'm dust.

  17. Thanks Leila! I agree, this is a Lent many of us needed, whether we knew it or not. It's time for us to strengthen our resolve, and to come together as one people in Christ.

    Pray without ceasing, and grow in love with the Lord!

  18. Leila, how did you know? I also, have been craving and eagerly awaiting lent for weeks now. This never happened before. Lent usually came so fast and surprised me, but this year, I've been thinking about the Lenten season and the sacrifices I want to make for weeks now. Wow, I guess this year we really do need prayer, fasting, and repentance. Have a blessed lent everyone. And I can't wait to read all the Lent blogposts, I am really craving God.

  19. It does seem like there is more than usual soul craving this year.

  20. It does seem like there is more than usual soul craving this year.

  21. I too have been craving Lent this year, for many reasons! It feels odd to be so happy to enter the desert with the Lord, but I am so thankful Lent has begun.

  22. Thank you for the link to the lenten workshop.
    I just today brought home the book The life of Christ, by Bishop Fulton Sheen from the library.. I had told my husband earlier that this book is my lenten reading., Then I read in the website this very book suggested as an excellent Lenten read.
    My Soul does need lent this year big time

  23. Love this. My soul has been craving lent too.

  24. yes, this year IS different. I am so with you. Blessed Lent!

  25. AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!!!!

    I've never been so eager for Lent as I am this year.


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