It is the first Good Friday I have fasted for since getting married. I have either been expecting a baby or breastfeeding one and therefore was exempted. I had forgotten how cleansing it is and how hard.
We do not associate God with ice:
Ever still, unmoving – fixed,
Like the frozen lake’s hardness – finite
His love could never be!
We understand God as fire:
Burning and without end,
Like the infinite heat of flames
His holiness reigns!
“Conquering the tongue is better than fasting on bread and water.” St. John of the Cross
I stand in line
I think of my sins,
The darkness in my soul.
A line in my heart
a slight valve
What I am
What I think I am
Make it whole!
From Proverbs 31 woman ebook I’ve been reading as a Lenten reflection:
So let me tell you what a wife of noble character does not look like:
1. She does not rival her husband.
2. She does not mope around and complain about her housework.
3. She does not overspend and put her family into debt.
4. She is not bored, discontent, greedy or selfish.
5. She does not gossip and slander others.
6. She does not spend her days doing leisurely shopping, texting, emailing, web browsing, watching late night movies, and sleeping in.
7. She does not criticize, mock, or disrespect her husband.
8. She does not have children and a husband who embarrass her.
9. She does not let her outer beauty take precedence over her inner beauty.
10. She does not take God’s word lightly.
A wife of noble character, who can find? She is rare! And when she is found – her value is priceless! She is a treasure to her husband. I want to be that ruby! In order to become like the Proverbs 31 woman, we must humble ourselves and see our flaws. We must be willing to change some things – our attitudes, our thought patterns, our work ethic, our words, and what we spend our time on. But by God’s grace, you can become a woman of noble character! So for today, begin by evaluating yourself against the list above. Which character quality are you weak in? Pray and ask God for the strength to change!
I’ve been working hard on decluttering our house and am very pleased with the results. I got rid of a lot of books and even some rickety bookshelves! Getting rid of books has always been difficult for me, but they were getting out of hand. It was a great lesson in detachment going through the shelves and donating them. I am so glad I did though because I now have space for prayer, a little shrine on top our family bookshelf. I even have room to display some much loved pieces like the tea set, a wedding gift from my husband.
The other week at Mass, my husband picked up our sleeping baby from the carseat before we went to receive communion. I was annoyed – let sleeping babies sleep! But bit my tongue. I’m glad I did. As we were walking to receive communion, I realized that he picked up the baby so that the baby could be blessed by the priest. Then I remembered how I’ve been praying for my husband, specifically that he would continue to lead our family spiritually and here it was! In the very action that I found so vexing was my husband’s spiritual headship! I am so glad I kept my mouth shut, that I didn’t glare at him when he woke up the baby, that I trusted. Admittedly, it is a small matter but I did not let my irritation get in the way of trusting – and that is hard! I then began to wonder how many times I’ve misinterpreted my husband’s actions, how many times I glared at him or disregarded his lead, countless I’m sure. But here, here was a small victory. I continue to grow as his wife. It is not easy but graces flow.
I try to ignore
as I stand in line,
examination of conscience
no, no, no –
no, maybe, no –
My gut turns a bit-
what am I to say?
Even in my searching
what my heart did:
Countless, countless times.
Have Mercy on me,
a poor sinner
about to be shriven!
I found this movement, skirting up for Lent today. How encouraging! Wearing skirts/dresses certainly brings beauty to our everyday life, embraces our femininity and sets us apart from the androgynous styles of today. Most commenters were receptive to the idea of giving up pants for Lent which is also encouraging. But of course there were a few who thought that “skirting up” was frivolous or somehow demeaning:
I must say that the whole “Skirting Up” for Lent is just plain silly, and trivializes what Lent is all about. Lent is a time to grow closer to our Lord by paying less attention to the things of this world and more attention to the things of God, and to obsess about skirts vs. pants is to miss the entire point of the season.
Wearing feminine clothing trivializing Lent? On the contrary! Christ loves our little sacrifices. How do we grow closer to God but by denying ourselves in small ways? As St. Therese the little flower wrote, “Miss no single opportunity of making small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” It is not the size of the deed that is important it is the love. Furthermore detachment to worldly things, does not mean that we should not take care in the way we dress.
“Really? Are you serious? Really? Just…wow. I don’t even….how. How is this something we should do for Lent? How is this making us better people? How is it a great idea for us to dress in skirts for all of Lent? I mean, it’s a real accomplishment doing the Lord’s work to be pretty all the time, right? Making ourselves more appealing to the opposite sex, that is our calling to God! Forget helping the poor, reaching out to those who are different from us, bringing peace where there is conflict, and making the world a better place! Oh dear God. Help us. This cannot be an actual thing . . . Really? Please. Say it is not so.”
Again it is asserted that what we wear is trivial. Does a woman accomplish anything by giving up pants for Lent? Undoubtedly. A well dressed woman has significant cultural influence. What we wear points towards truths. just as a beautifully structured church can lift our hearts heavenward, our clothing can point us and others towards certain truths. It changes the way people view us and it changes the way we act. If dressed more modestly, we tend to act more modestly. If dressed more feminine we tend to act more feminine. Does giving up pants for Lent negate the importance of almsgivings or peacemaking? Certainly not. But it is a simple way to embrace one’s God given femininity and to delight in clothed modesty.