Approaching the Desert

By Casey Sprehe

As the high time of Mardi Gras season approached, I found myself wondering about Lent. What should I do? What should I not do?
Feeling a draw to massive withdrawal and purging probably due to the sensory overload that is Thanksgiving + Christmas + Mardi Gras, I decided to go to adoration to pray about what God wanted from me this Lent. (Disclaimer: 90 percent of the time when I feel a draw toward something, I pretty much go with it. Sadly, turning to God isn’t always my first response. Thankfully, this time it was.)

My pen flew effortlessly over my journal. Maybe my current self needs more pruning than I care to admit?  Maybe I was convicted before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?  Little bit of A, little bit of B.
Get up in the middle of the night with a child in need before my husband does. Do it happily. Don’t tell him about in the morning.
Don’t complain about always being in the kitchen feeding people. Do it joyfully. Rejoice over the children in my midst.

This isn’t in isolation of fasting. I just haven’t arrived there in prayer yet. The ascetical practices of Lent prune my human weakness and cause me to lean on God in way in which other prayer forms don’t.
There’s a current program about Lent that says, “Don’t just give up chocolate.” I’m not knocking the program, as I’ve done it and received beautiful Lenten graces from it.
However, I’ve found that giving up something I truly do enjoy (I’m looking at you, strawberry Abita and dark chocolate almonds) as a means of denying myself, does purge me and move me closer to the cross. This element isn’t forgotten.

But this Lent, my fasting will be done in conjunction with walking in the desert of my own life hopefully a little more joyfully.

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