"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and make good your vows to the Most High."
For the past few years my Lenten commitment to spiritual discipline of one kind or another has been a bit lacking in actual commitment or sacrifice.
I’ve had little time in advance to thoughtfully plan out an intentional fast. I have chosen a book to study but then passively allowed myself to get behind in the reading schedule. I’ve given up “Lent” for lent as a way to relieve myself from one more pressure or time stress in my calendar.
In all honesty, these outs were valid on many days, partly due to a calendar that revealingly was just over-packed. And I was better able to serve my spiritual life and my other ministry commitments by not piling on additional demands that would only lead to experiences of failure and shame.
But this year I had the time to get my head together about Lent. And I have the bandwidth to “just do it.” I set forth for myself spiritual disciplines in all four areas of study, prayer, fasting and alms-giving. And I’m excited to have the energy and the focus to engage in a meaningful and intentional way.
My acts of self-discipline are about spiritual growth and paying attention; practicing what I preach, and what I invite my community members to participate in at whatever level of engagement their current life demands permit. And I do so with a thankful heart.
As you continue to get your footing in this Lenten season; as you balance the demands placed on you that you have control over and that you choose to put in place to engage your spiritual life, I invite you to remember, the sacrifices that we make to God are pleasing to God because we do so, not out of guilt, or resentment, but because our relationship with God is a gift that we are thankful for. So this season, if nothing else fits, if taking a break from Lent for Lent is what you need, consider making a commitment to offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God. In the name of the Holy Trinity, Amen.
Chaplain Mary Cat