Recently on Morning Air, John Morales welcomed Marge Steinhage Fenelon onto the show to discuss our preparation for Lent and four specific questions we should ask in order to get the most out of the season.
Fenelon began by comparing our journey to the resurrection of Jesus like a road trip. After we decide we’re going on a trip, our preparation involves picking a destination, securing means of transportation, and packing the required supplies and necessities. Preparation for Lent is similar, except it’s a lot less physical preparation, and the end goal is vastly more important than a road trip or vacation.
While we still have a couple of weeks until Lent begins, we shouldn’t use those two weeks as a countdown timer to when the season starts. We should already be preparing our minds, our bodies, and our souls to enter this period of sacrifice and mortification. “It’s more than just giving up chocolate,” said Fenelon. “Why do you give up the chocolate? And what is that going to do for you spiritually?”
And to that end, She presented four questions that we should ask ourselves in order to best prepare ourselves for this spiritual journey.
- What sins do I find myself repeating over and over again in confession?
Confession is there as a constant for us. No matter what we do, nor how many times we do it, confession is there to grant us God’s forgiveness and absolution so that we can return to the state of grace. That being said, we shouldn’t make a habit of receiving reconciliation and then immediately forget why we were in the confessional. Being sorry means that you will strive not to do it again. If you find yourself noticing a pattern of repeating the same sins, you should take that as a sign that we have something to seriously work on this Lent.
- What spiritual practices do I find it hardest to maintain?
Apart from the physical mortifications we will be offering during Lent, there needs to be a spiritual companion to those actions. By asking ourselves what spiritual aspects we struggle with, we can conscientiously identify our next steps. Lenten sacrifice isn’t a one-size-fits-all. For some, their spiritual practices might be very intense and curated over the course of decades, so they struggle with maintaining their daily norms. For another, they might just be laying the foundation of their spiritual life and they may have to start small with their improvements.
- What triggers sinfulness in my life?
This is very closely tied to question one because after we realize what sins we are constantly repeating, we then have to look at what’s causing those bad habits. It could be anything from food to emotions to the entertainment we consume. It’s important for us to make a purposeful and conscious effort to eliminate those elements of our life that are creating occasions of sin. If it’s a certain food that causes gluttony, stay away from it. If it’s a certain show that causes impurity, stop watching it. If it’s a certain person that has a habit of making you mad, stay away from them or at least make a deliberate effort to let those ticks go.
- What faults get in the way of my spiritual striving?
We all have faults. We are all human, after all. But having a fault doesn’t automatically make us sinful. Our faults are like chinks in our armor. They let in the feeling of weakness, discouragement, and despair. They are what let our guard down and let in the vices and sinfulness. That’s where the physical part of our Lenten sacrifice comes into play. By maintaining self-control over our habits, our bodies, and what we indulge in, we can train ourselves to be better prepared to stave off sin when it comes knocking.
Listen to the full segment below:
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