This past Lent was the most transformative one I’ve experienced. It coincided with my Ovarian Wedge Resection recovery. During those forty days, Christ healed me not only physically, but spiritually. By Easter morning, I was made totally new.
A few hours before Lent began, I asked God what He desired for me to sacrifice. Since I was laying in bed recovering, I felt like I didn’t have much to give. How far from the truth! Christ accomplished His greatest work when He was immobile. I started reflecting on what I was holding back from God and things that I to which I’m attached.
Social media came to mind, specifically Instagram.
The Call and Sacrifice
I use Instagram as the main platform for evangelization for my ministry, Finding Philothea. I fought the idea of fasting from it. What would I do as I laid in bed recovering? Wouldn’t I be lonely if I fasted from it? Bored? Wasn’t I meant to continue to evangelize throughout Lent?
God’s answer penetrated my heart: He could do more with my silence. And He did.
Replace With Beauty
I decided to fast from Instagram. It was one of the best decisions I made. When we fast from something, we should always put something good in its place, as a priest once instructed me. So I replaced the time I normally spent creating content or scrolling on Instagram with spiritual reading, specifically Saint Faustina’s Diary and Bishop Barron’s Word On Fire articles.
Those two resources set my heart ablaze. I felt like I had been spiritually starving and now my cup was overflowing with beauty, truth, and goodness. I couldn’t get enough.
As I continued with my spiritual readings, my prayer life naturally increased. The knowledge of God’s love for me that both Saint Faustina and Bishop Barron revealed flowed gently into a deepening of my love for Him.
Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear
I realized how much I had been holding back from our loving and trustworthy God. I discovered how many fears I had, especially the fear of suffering. Physical suffering scared me and I had been trying to avoid it at all costs. I had been afraid of the pain of surgery before my Ovarian Wedge Resection and as I lay recovering I was scared for my heart to continue to suffer with the cross of infertility. I was full of fear.
I discovered Saint Faustina’s own journey with suffering and the deep joy she found in it. She wrote of not only comforting Christ but saving her own soul and other souls through her suffering. She wrote that God revealed to her that if angels could be jealous of men it would be for two things: the Eucharist and their ability to suffer.
Yet because of my “yes” to Christ at the beginning of Lent, I had opened the door just enough for Christ to enter into my heart. Grace began to pour into my life.
A few days before Lent ended, I sat on my bed and looked at the San Damiano crucifix that hangs in my bedroom. I saw the suffering Christ, hanging, dying, for me. I looked at Him and repeated, “I surrender.”
I told Him I surrender to all He has in store for my life. I said yes to the infertility, if that is what He willed for my life. I said yes to the suffering, if that is what His plan was for me.
The most profound peace and joy I have ever experienced immediately flooded into my entire being. That joy has continued to grow as I surrender each day to Him and His will for my life. There is freedom in the surrender. There is joy in knowing that our suffering has merit.There is freedom in the surrender. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
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The Power of The Holy Spirit
Looking back, I know that it was the Holy Spirit Who prompted all of this. It was the Holy Spirit, the Love between the Father and the Son, Who was inviting me to participate in that Divine Romance. The Holy Spirit blows where He chooses (John 3:8) and I know He was breathing new life within my heart.
It was the Holy Spirit Who was inviting me to silence, to retreat, to learn, to discover, to pray. It was the Holy Spirit Who gave me wisdom and understanding, Who planted the seeds of my surrender. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray; and He comes rushing in, powerfully, gently, overwhelmingly. He invites, we give permission, and when we do, He overshadows, and our life is forever changed.Come, Holy Spirit, we pray; and He comes rushing in, powerfully, gently, overwhelmingly. He invites, we give permission, and when we do, He overshadows, and our life is forever changed. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Ask The Holy Spirit To Be With You
I don’t know what God has planned for me this Lent. I do know it will be beautiful. Beauty is found in the sacrifice, in the suffering that always leads to new life. The Death and Resurrection of Christ prove this—the most beautiful reality in this world has ever seen was on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
This Lent, I encourage you to join me in asking God what He wants you to sacrifice and what beauty He desires you to replace that sacrifice with. Each time we fast we build upon past fasts. That is why it is so important to fast. We are better able to hear His call and His voice. We are disciplined to say “yes” to His invitations. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you.
Set A Fire
Blessed Is She’s Lenten Devotional, Set a Fire, does just this, it helps us invite the Holy Spirit to be with us as we journey toward the Cross and Resurrection. We are never alone in our Faith! We have the Great Advocate, the Holy Spirit, with us. The Holy Spirit transforms us in our sacrifice, in our suffering. Let Him breathe new life within the darkest recesses of your heart, your body, your mind, your soul. Give Him permission to breathe, to move, in you.
You are loved by God, you are Spirit-filled, you are called to greatness. The way we live out that call is, like Mary, to say yes and let the Holy Spirit overshadow us.
Great things are in store for us this Lent the moment we decide to do this.
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