Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From Ashes to Ashes

My personal favorite blessing from last Lent was that my husband Kevin, prompted by the Holy Spirit, was inspired to start attending daily Mass with me.  As many Christian traditions observe the practice of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as part of Lent, a number of people take stock of their spiritual lives and their outreach to others, ask God for guidance, and come up with a plan that will help them grow closer to the Lord between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.      
Last year, I had the jaw-dropping experience of my husband Kevin informing me that he was going to begin attending daily Mass with me as part of his Lenten observance.  By then, Kevin was participating fully each Sunday and on holy days when we attended Mass.  He’d even been open to going on a couple different retreats and later served as part of two different teams for other groups of men seeking spiritual renewal.  He was living out the Catholic faith, something that I had begged, pleaded, and hoped for over a period of years when we first began dating.
Hearing about Kevin’s plan to join me for daily Mass made me excited, then it made me wonder how long it would last.  Praise God Almighty, since it came directly from the Holy Spirit, he started and hasn’t stopped!  For the past year, even when we’ve been on vacation, he’s accompanied me to daily Mass. 
This is one of the major reminders for me that not only is God still in the business of miracles, but He’s also continuing to grant prayers He inspired me to start praying years ago.  When Kevin and I first met, he’d been away from the Church for a number of years.  He’d never lost his faith in God the Father or Jesus Christ, but he fell away, sometimes ran away, from the Catholic faith. 
Only the Lord God could change that man’s heart and mind.  I tried many times, and I failed completely or had minimal success at best.  I prayed for Kevin’s conversion, but I had a hard time picturing the day when he wouldn’t think it was “a bit much” to go to Mass on Sundays in addition to going a few times during the week. 
If I think about spending 40 days focused on how sinful and selfish I am, then I’m likely to get depressed.  If I focus on how amazing the Lord is— how incredibly loving, merciful, and compassionate our God is—that He would give us His only Son as expiation for our sins, then I’m likely to be hopeful.  I’m likely to submit more fully to the Lord’s Will in all areas of my life.  I’m likely to invite God in my heart and mind to remove the lies and replace them with His infinite Truth.
What or whom are you going to focus on this Lent?
Is spending quiet time in prayer something you schedule into each day?
What’s the most important thing you can give up this Lent?
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