Lent is here. It is time for fasting, self-sacrifice, almsgiving, and prayer. Lent is not an easy time when you give yourself to it. When you are practicing fasting and other forms of self-sacrifice for the love of Christ temptation is there. Even when practicing acts of charity and prayer you will have battles. Hopelessness can set in as can defeat if you give in to temptation. But if you are not battling, then you are not doing it right. If you are not seeing changes in yourself as a result of your prayer and fasting and self-sacrifice and almsgiving, then you are merely praying to yourself, using Lent as a weight loss program, and only giving to things you like or approve of. Do not fear the battle, embrace it. As a power boost goes to Adoration of the Eucharist.
Recently I have been feeling hopeless, desperate, and anxious in several big areas of my life. Prayer for proper discernment and God’s will to be done have helped me. Additionally, I really have finally learned to live in the moment. This helps me not to suffocate myself. However, with the onset of Lent, it seems as if these areas have become ten times as stressful. Manifestations of problems stemming from these areas have surfaced and these problems are not small. Self-sacrifice has been difficult and almsgiving nearly impossible for so many reasons. While my prayer life is usually pretty good, it has now been a struggle and often feels lukewarm. I know I am in the battle and I know I must cling ever more tightly to Christ. It is not easy.
Adoration plays such a huge role in giving me the one thing I need to go on: hope. I always walk away from Adoration filled with peace and hope. My problems are not miraculously solved but my mind is clear and there is a vitality to move forward – a belief that things will be alright and a HUGE trust in Christ. It really does feel like a power surge. It is tangible. I have been in Adoration spilling tears, in pain, thinking of my own pain and Christ’s pain, and through His grace, I come to I know my pain gets united with His. At the point I know I am ready to leave, I stand up feeling completely different than when I began. The biggest difference for me is that I usually feel ready to give more of myself, to be more open and loving, and to give where I felt I was done giving or could not give before. It is truly amazing.
Just today I found myself spiraling downward and dejected. I was ready to go on with my day as planned when I veered off and went to Adoration. I prayed the Rosary, the Universal prayer that binds us all together. I focused on the Glorious Mysteries and knew real joy when pondering the Resurrection. I felt a mother’s pain in the Ascension imagining Jesus having to leave His Mother who was and is made especially for Him. Yet I knew joy too because He said He would always be with all of us. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to enter all of us, rejoiced in the Assumption and the Crowning of the Immaculate Conception formed by God unique who returned to Him her Creator and Her Son yet who continues to be such a large part of God’s plan for humanity. I found myself bathed in warm light and love of the Real Presence of Christ. I noticed the birds singing and the beautiful sun. I knew I had food to eat, a loving husband, beautiful kids, a life filled with both joy and pain and I was happy. But what makes me smile is that I know I have the love of the True God who is Almighty and Everlasting. I have what is important and I focused on it. I did not box it away. I came to see His Son who He gave to us. I came to see Jesus who gave us Himself and continues to do so in His Adorable Body and Blood. I thank Him for bringing me. I knew at that moment no enemy of any kind can encamp against me!
When coaching clients who are catholic and who are going through a difficult adjustment such as a divorce, relationship trauma, or career change in these tough economic times, I suggest Adoration. Especially in difficult times, lots of faithful know they have Jesus but do not allow him to live in the moment with them. They have placed him in a box to be dealt with by formalities, i.e., going to Church on Sunday, taking communion, saying a quick Our Father. All those things are so important but done without faith and love are meaningless and actually hurtful. Doing that does not allow Christ to act within you. Part of my coaching plan for the faithful is to include Adoration and to encourage my clients to place all their trust in Him. I ask them to stop trying to obsessively control the issue and give it to Christ. Let him act at the moment for you. That does not mean stop paying attention, stop assessing or stop thinking. It does mean stop forcing things on your terms. Going before the Real Presence says you believe – it says you trust – it says you submit to Him. Christ hears that and acts. Sitting before the Presence is like having a beam on you – the closer you get to Him- the more powerful it becomes. Release yourself when you are there for Him. Trust Him with your pain and your problem and you will find peace in the storm.
I have seen the results when my faithful clients trust in Christ. They let go and start to open their perspective. They begin to think of the other person or people involved in their situation and what they need. They find a calm that allows them to act even when others are unkind, rude, arrogant or overreaching. They stop sweating the small stuff and focus only on what is really important. It is truly amazing. So, for Lent, go to Adoration and then go again. You will always remember those moments, short or long, you spent before Him.