What are you giving up for Lent? That was a popular question when I was a kid. I was pretty good at giving up treats like chocolate or ice cream. After a while, I decided to stop giving up and add instead. One Lent I prayed the rosary on my drive to work. Another Lent, I attended Mass at the local Catholic school each week.
Do Something With Love
A couple of years ago, I was struggling to decide what to do for Lent. It was Ash Wednesday, and I still hadn’t hit on the right thing. That’s when Fr. Judah Pigon at St. Pius threw out this suggestion. Instead of giving up something, why not do something with love instead? That question got me thinking. What could I change in my faith life to be more loving? Then the answer came to me. I would stop being antsy and pushy when it was time to leave for church. My worry about getting to church on time spoiled the Sunday morning drive. Plus, my stressed-out attitude didn’t get me to church any earlier.
Developing a Calm Attitude
Obviously, people have different concepts of time. For some, being on time is arriving 10 minutes early. Others routinely arrive fashionably late, and that’s acceptable. Clearly, my husband, Bill, and I didn’t share the same perspective regarding time. So, I decided to change the before-church rush during Lent. Instead of nagging or rushing Bill, I would be calm and relaxed. I told him, “I’ll be in the car.” I have to admit, for the first few weeks I sat in the car and stewed. After a while, things started to change. I didn’t mind waiting. By the end of Lent, Bill was getting to the car before me! Not exactly the miracle of Easter, but I was surprised.
Lenten Practice Brings Peace
I realized I wasn’t just loving Bill more that Lent, I was loving myself. I let go of the needless Sunday morning stress and felt better. I’m happy to report that this Lenten practice had long-lasting effects. Bill and I decide on an appropriate time to leave for church, and I don’t pressure him out the door anymore. Our rides to church are more peaceful, and we always arrive early. I learned a valuable lesson about love and patience that year.
What will you do this Lent to show love?