Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lent 2010, Day 11

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:7-10
Here St. James neatly sums up the whole point of Lent in his thoroughly practical guide for Christians. This is the time for self-examination, for repentance, for confession of sins, and for new starts. The disciplines of Lent do not mean that happiness is bad, but rather, getting rid of our personal baggage allows us to experience more happiness ourselves and to bring more happiness to others.

Once a dear friend and therapist explained to me that holding on to grievances and petty sins was like carrying a heavy tow sack everywhere I went. It was tiring. It kept me from doing all that I wanted to do. It altered my vision of reality. Like many others, I had experienced needless tragedy because of another's selfishness. But only by letting go and giving that tow sack to God would I be healed.

Lent is the time each year that the Church reminds us to get rid of our tow sacks, to work on our own weaknesses, and draw near to God. Then we will be lifted up by God.

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