Sunday, 22 March 2020 08:24

Wash Your Face!

Written by Cathy Taylor

This Sunday is Laetare Sunday, which means we are about halfway through Lent. Already, many of us have failed repeatedly or given up completely on the Lenten fasts.  Some of us may have replaced our fasts with suffering the inconveniences and restrictions that are currently imposed on us, and instead have made that our Lenten fast. But the middle of Lent is not a time to give in or give up persevering.

When we choose to fast, in order to unite with Jesus during Lent, but do not do so with a sacrificial heart, then we are simply dieting or practicing self-improvement for the sake of self. This is not the spirit or purpose of Lent. During Lent, we fast or give things up in order that we may grow in longing for our Lord.  We make room for Him in our hearts so He can grow in us and we can grow in holiness and be perfected in Him. 

It is important to point out that things that are taken away from us against our will are not sacrifices, yet may cause us some suffering.  A sacrifice is something that we willfully choose to deny ourselves for the good of another. During Lent we fast and sacrifice for love of Christ.  It is good and right to offer up all of our sufferings to the Lord. However, I put forth that we should unite our sufferings with our fasts, not substitute one for the other. If we do this, what a beautiful Lenten gift to our Lord it would be! 

The middle of Lent is not a time to be sad and despondent, no matter what our circumstances are in the world today. Let us now recommit to our Lenten fasts, be reminded of the Gospel reading we heard on Ash Wednesday and recall how God calls us to fast in a specific way, 

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” (Matthew 6:16 -19)

If Momma Mary were standing before us right now, she would tell us, “Go right away and wash your face!” Let us not look gloomy or pained. Do not let the troubles of this world get to you. Is not everything in God’s hands? As our Lady of Guadalupe said to Juan Diego, “Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you…Am I not here, I who am your Mother?”

We are privileged to be living in such a strange and beautiful time. There are so many opportunities of suffering and sacrifices to offer up to our Lord right now. This is the Lent that God has planned for you and I to live and we must live it well with love and with fasting, sacrifices, sufferings and with joyful anticipation in our hearts. 

Now, go wash your face!