Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Three Things Are Necessary: A Series on Lent (Pt.1)
"Three things are necessary for man's salvation," said Thomas Aquinas, "to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do."
In this three part series, during Lent, I am going to take apart this quote from Aquinas. In this quote, he begs the question.... actually three questions.
What do you believe?
What do you desire?
What do you do?
These are the three essential questions for faith and for salvation. Aquinas said it: it must be true! :0)
This year during the season of Lent, this will be the focus of my conversations. I am going to start that conversation here, with part one on my blog!
Let's Talk About Lent
And before we get into that question, I want to discuss Lent for just a minute. I remember in years past, I heard about a girl who was going to give up creamer in her coffee for Lent. However, it was too tough for her, but she still wanted to honor God by doing some kind of sacrifice during Lent. She decided to give up creamer in her coffee one day a week.
I personally think that despite many shares on social media, "creamer girl" example is weak sauce. If it was too hard for her to give up creamer in her coffee, then she should pick something else, and really give it up, and actually stick to her guns.
Why? Because the purpose of Lent is to make room for God. We do this by practicing self-denial. Even though she got a bunch of shares on Facebook, seriously... don't be like "creamer girl" because the backlash and repercussions of a lack of follow-through can really stall you in your goals. That's a fancy way of saying, "Oops."
I'm giving up shopping this year for Lent. I plan to REALLY give it up. The only exception (not excuse!!!) is Sundays. Sundays are little Easters- a day of rest- and so we can take part in that which we gave up on Sundays.
Lent begins this week on you guessed it- Valentine's Day (celebrate a day early?) But going back to the first question in Aquinas' quotation, what do we actually believe.... what do we believe about the Church calendar? What do we believe about the resurrection from the dead? What do we believe about Easter?
If we know the answer, then Lent makes sense. I'm not going to give up shopping "in name only" and still do whatever "the *h*" I want. I'm also not going to indulge in other things during Lent. Any kind of excess defeats the purpose of the fasting we practice. If I gorge myself on cookies or become hugely addicted to crisp white moscato while I'm giving up shopping, I'm missing the whole point of Lent, which is to ...what?
What do you believe?
The other day I was out in nature, pushing two of my children in the stroller. That experience tapped into so much of what I believe about daily life. I believe that fresh air and sunshine and exercise are all good for you. I believe that my kids need to be in nature for their development to be consistent and healthy. I believe that stretching my legs, working my muscles, and getting my heart rate up all help me to be a healthy person.
Do you believe in the almighty dollar? Do you believe this is a free country, so to each her own? Do you believe your personality explains (away) every little thing that you do, sinful or not??
Our beliefs inform our desires and our actions.
If we don't know what we believe, but we are simply practicing Lent by giving up sweet tea, or wine, or sugar, or shopping...... then it is not going to be effectual in the cleaning out of our souls.
As Catholics, we say, "Lord, I am not worthy, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed... enough for you to enter under my roof."
That means we allow him to clean our souls. Thereby he can enter in and make our hearts holy .... Holy enough for Him! Holy enough for him to dwell within us.
When we ask God for a clean soul, we are expressing what we ought to do (which we will get into later in the series).
Each and every time we deny our flesh, we are asked to pray. We are also supposed to practice almsgiving and chastity.
"Lord I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof. But only say the word and my soul shall be healed." This is my prayer this Lent. To be FOCUSED on God and his will for me!
How can you take steps this year to have an effectual Lent? What will enrich your faith, or that which you believe?
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