Recently on The Cale Clarke Show, Cale opened up the conversation about finding ways to have a better Lent and maximize the spiritual benefits of the season.
Back in the 90s and the early 2000s, there was a Christian fad going around where usually younger people would wear these bracelets that read W.W.J.D. and it stood for “What would Jesus do?” The idea behind it was that every time you saw it on your wrist, it would serve as a reminder to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. While there is no empirical data to suggest the movement’s failure or success, it ironically invited criticism and reactions that were certainly not Christlike.
However, regardless of whether the bracelets did more good than bad or not, the message is sound. Whether we are in the heart of Lent, Ordinary Time, or another Liturgical season, our goal should be to imitate Christ in all that we do. “We want to replicate His life. That’s what the word ‘Christian’ really means. It means ‘little Christ’. Maybe a better way of saying it is allowing Jesus to replicate His life in us,” explained Cale.
To do that this Lent, Cale suggested that we make concerted efforts to better identify with Christ’s Passion so that we might come out the other side as better Catholics, better Christians, and better people.
The four parts to identifying with Christ’s Passion are:
- Prayer. “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This world is not forever. Everything we see and have is temporary, even if it is a good thing. Only the unseen is forever. As Patrick Madrid says, at the end of your life, you will meet God with only two things: your sins and your love. So, when we pray, we are letting go of the temporary things of this world and growing closer to our unseen Father in Heaven.
- Penance and Mortification. After original sin, we have this tendency to find ourselves subject to earthly desires and passions for things. While they are intrinsically good, they can also become disordered and lead us to greed, ambition, or concupiscence. To combat these pulls towards sinfulness, you can negate them through prayerful mortification and sacrifice. Through mortification, we “put to death” the devil’s perversion of the good. We sever our ties to our disordered habits.
- Fasting. Through fasting, it is here where we can fully understand the meaning of Christ’s words to the devil: “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) We may experience pain and discomfort, but instead of following that feeling to a desire for physical food, let us meditate on it and follow it to a desire for the bread of everlasting life. Ultimately, that is the only sustenance that matters.
- Alms-giving. Time, talent, and treasure are the three T’s of alms-giving. In seeking ways to give of ourselves, we are asked to sacrifice our time for others, even if it may be more beneficial to ourselves to spend it doing something else. When we find time to give to others, we should also explore ways to utilize our God-given talents in ways that glorify Him and help others. And lastly, we should share the financial blessings that God has given us (even without extravagant wealth), perhaps especially if moral responsibilities preclude us from being able to share our time and talent as much as we would like to.
Listen to the full segment below:
Tune in to The Cale Clarke Show weekdays at 5pm CT