Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lent Day Two

Lenten Factoid of the Day

The word “Lent” from the Germanic for “Spring” was first used in the late Middle Ages when the pastors began to preach homilies in the vernacular instead of Latin. Prior to that, the season was called by the Latin term quadragesima meaning the "fortieth day" before Easter. Romance languages retain this sense, for example, Spanish cuaresma, Portuguese quaresma, French carême and Italian quaresima.

Lent Day Two

A friend on Facebook commented that Lent seemed a bit superfluous this year since she and her family had been undergoing many trials for the past several months. I could identify.

When you've been walking though the valley of suffering, 
focusing on more suffering for 40 days seems a bit counterproductive.

This time last year, I was aching from the loss of my mother and reeling from having learned that a great deal of money (at least a great deal to me!) had been stolen from her estate. A year later, the pain of the loss of my mother has eased and when I opened her checkbook to get information to pay her final taxes, I was no longer crushed by the sight of her handwriting. However, the theft issue still remains unresolved, although I'm told restitution is not likely. The trial has been post-poned and post-poned again and again until I'm not sure there even will be a trial. Add to that, or more likely because of these things, I have carried with me the burden of panic and anxiety almost every day.

This past year has been one long Lent with no Easter in sight.

 I think the hardest thing has been feeling both paralyzed, unable to do anything other than stare at the wall and perhaps play solitaire on my laptop, and so crazed that my heart seemed to be doing fish-flops...and feeling both at the same time.

So this Lent, what I've decided to do is simply accept those feelings as they come. I'm beginning to learn that when I try to force myself into action while feeling paralyzed, I get tossed into the fishbowl. And when I try to calm down in the fishbowl, I end up become even more frozen. It's a nasty and very vicious circle.  So today, feeling both like the deer in the headlights and the fish in the bowl, I've simply allowed myself to be both. Simultaneously.

At the same time, I have taken to breathing a very simple prayer: God, help me.  That's it. Normally I would add all sorts of explanation to my prayer, as if somehow God wouldn't quite know what I needed unless I spelled it out. But it finally dawned on me that I don't really know what I need. I don't really know how to calm the anxiety or remove the panic.  All I do know is that I need help. Not just once or twice, but over and over throughout the day and sometimes into the night.

I close my eyes and fall into the sense of frozen panic, an oxymoron if ever there was one, and say, God, help me.  If it's the only thing I do this Lent, I think it will suffice.

With that, I leave you with this traditional
Lenten Prayer

God, heavenly Father, 
look upon me and hear my prayer 
during this holy Season of Lent. 
By the good works You inspire, 
help me to discipline my body 
and to be renewed in spirit. 

Without You I can do nothing. 
By Your Spirit help me to know what is right
and to be eager in doing Your will. 
Teach me to find new life through penance. 
Keep me from sin, and help me live
by Your commandment of love. 
God of love, bring me back to You. 
Send Your Spirit to make me strong
in faith and active in good works. 
May my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness, 
open my heart to Your love, 
and prepare me for the coming feast 
of the Resurrection of Jesus. 

Lord, during this Lenten Season,
nourish me with Your Word of life 
and make me one 
with You in love and prayer. 

Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ. 
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. 
Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass. 

Father, our source of life, 
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand; 
let me walk more readily in Your ways. 
Guide me in Your gentle mercy, 
for left to myself I cannot do Your Will. 

Father of love, source of all blessings, 
help me to pass from my old life of sin 
to the new life of grace. 
Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom. 
I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, 
Who lives and reigns with You 
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.


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