Before I begin, I would like to first apologize for my silence the last several months. During this time, my Beloved decided to put me through a sort of spiritual boot camp. I would like to share some of the insights I have gained during this time. Some of you will probably read my simple writings and not have any new insights; however, I challenge everyone to spend time gnawing on the ideas that I write about, spending time in prayer with it and allowing the Most Holy Trinity entrance into your soul to develop that which He desires to teach you and bring you a deeper understanding.
I am beginning these reflections on a topic that will surprise most, the intimate and irremovable importance of preparing yourself ahead of time for Lent and Easter Sunday. I know that it may seem strange that I would choose such a topic when we perceive Ash Wednesday to be so very far away. Reality, however, shows that we are less than 30 days away from the beginning of Lent. This said, I pose a question: have you begun to prepare for Lent? Most of us will immediately say no. The main questions, I believe, that follow this answer ought to be: why prepare so early, and how do you prepare for Lent.
To find the answer to these questions, you must spend time in meditation. Lent is the season that is to remind us of the Israelites in the desert and Christ’s time in the desert. Yet, Lent is so much more. Lent is a time when God calls us to die to self in order to rise in and with Christ Easter Sunday. Lent is the time when we renew and hold firm to our Baptismal promises as we face those vices in our lives that keep us from uniting ourselves with Christ, Who during Holy Week suffered greatly and died for YOU out of absolute love in order for you to rise to new life in His most Eucharistic Heart. Thus, we are called to prepare ourselves for the Lenten days of struggle as we walk through the desert.
Yet, how do we prepare. The basics of preparing are Mass, adoration, the rosary, and Scripture. However, we need to also come to recognize those areas in our lives in which we do not belong to Christ. We have to prepare by coming to know more of ourselves by spending time looking at the virtues that we need in order to be fully united to Christ. Below, I have listed the virtues that I consider to be among the most important and most foundational of the virtues.
My challenge to you in the present moment is to spend time with each virtue between now and the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Contemplate not only upon what the virtue means, but also how you have fallen from and grown from that particular virtue. You must be honest with yourself in order to see your faults. From the Sunday before Ash Wednesday until Ash Wednesday, I suggest praying about which virtue(s) to work on during Lent; however, do not simply try to figure it out yourself, but beg God to help you choose what you need to work on.
Lent was, is, and never will be a period of time in which you are allowed to go back into the vices you had been working on. Lent is a spiritual jump-start that is supposed to give you the time and support needed to grow ever closer to Christ.
The virtues with a few extras