I cannot remember the last time I denied myself something.
That doesn't sound very good, does it? Well, I did fast yesterday because of Ash Wednesday, so there’s that. But what I’m talking about is really denying myself something I wanted at the moment.
If there’s an outfit I like and if it fits, I buy it. If there is a movie I want to see, I see it. If my nails need some pampering, I’m off for a pedicure with a friend.
I'm going to count this as one blessing of being single. I take care of the ones I love and myself but don’t have anyone financially dependent on me, so I can afford little luxuries.
Although I sound indulgent, I don’t think I’m alone in this lifestyle. I believe numerous women invest in memories to fill our time rather than rest in silence to hear God’s voice. I’m not the only girl who shops to fill a void instead of allowing God to satisfy the longing for love.
I know these examples are why the word “deny” stood out in bold letters to me when I read Luke’s Gospel today.
The world tells us to consume, not deny. On the flip side, the Church encourages us to deny ourselves (and not just during Lent). But will that denial lead to greater intimacy with Christ or just another spiritual checkmark to say we’re “good Catholics”? I don’t know about you, but I want Lent to be a season of self-denial that leads me to rely on Christ alone to satisfy me!
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Christ is asking for far more than denying ourselves chocolate or pampering. Christ is asking us to deny ourselves, embrace His Cross with Him, so that we can be purified and ready to experience His Resurrection.
Peruse these questions and answers about Lent.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist. You can find out more about her here.