Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sacrifice, crucifixes, and ice cream.....

It's been a long time.  I'm talking a very, long, time.

Since I've blogged that is.  Of course, it's been a long time period.  Almost 8 weeks since I gave birth.  And in those 8 weeks, I am certain, if you named it, it happened in my home.  Every illness known to man, a hospital stay with RSV, depression, craziness, theft, lying, chaos.  Oh snap.  What a time.

And isn't that typical that it has occurred during most of my Lenten journey?  I am almost certain I have never had a "quiet" Lent.  My journey through Lent has, since my "reversion" back into the faith, ALWAYS been an adventure of some sort.

This year is no different.  It's Lent.  Springtime.  Although, where I live, it's anything BUT spring, but don't, and I mean, DON'T, get me started on that one.  Another day, another blog.

But it's springtime.  I find it fascinating that Lent begins during winter.  When it's still less daylight than spring.  Before we lose DST and get more sunshine.  During the course of Lent, we begin to see daylight growing longer and longer.  Temperatures getting warmer and warmer  (well, in SOME places) and new life and growth springing up everywhere.  Baby animals, flowers, trees budding, new babies being born, all kinds of fantastic life emerging from the winter.  Including the cold, cold, VERY cold, place I live.

Kids slowly emerge from their homes with their bikes, scooters, skates, ripsticks, in tow.  Hockey in the streets, basketball games, capture the flag games.

It's a thawing of our spirits as well.  I am in awe of the connection to our world with our journey during Lent.  As we "give up" something, or promise to do something more during this time, we grow closer and closer to our Lord.  As our hearts grow more and more in love with Him and His story, our walls we've built up (almost like ice, or snow) begin to melt away and the capacity to love even more grows.  Much like our spring outside.

Our faith can only grow when we feed and water it.  There is no coincidence in my motto for my blog and what our faith does when we nourish it.  My motto is 'the grass is greener right where you water it.'  Same with our faith.  You will only get out of it, what you put into it.  Bored at Mass?  Tired of the same ole, same ole?  What have you put into it lately?

'I gave up chocolate, crazymomma.'   Oh wow. Good for you.  How's that helping you grow in your faith?   Do you stare at the bag of peanut butter Easter eggs and watch them taunt you from the shelf?  (ok, that's a rhetorical question, because let's face it, candy just taunts me no matter what...and I didn't give it up....)

'I gave up chewing gum.'   Really?  What has it done to lead you closer to our Lord?

'I gave up ice cream.'    Ahhhh- now we're getting somewhere.  Ok, not really, but it IS what I gave up and if you people knew how much I loved ice cream, you would understand this incredible sacrifice.

When we give things up for Lent, it's supposed to draw us closer to Christ. Connect us, if you will, to that time when He, Himself, knew what would happen to His life.  He would give up his life.  For us.

When we decide what we're 'giving up' are we completely honest about why we're doing it?  Are we willing to substitute our minute sacrifice for the sacrifice on the cross?  Could we essentially take the place of Christ on that Cross?

You know, side note here, because I see squirrels, and this is a big one.  Follow me.  (if you dare...)
 I read an article on why Catholics have crucifixes everywhere and I found it to be the reason I've always shared with anyone who will ask.  We as Catholics have a firm understanding that Jesus Christ died for our sins.  He died.  Once.  For all.  We don't "re-sacrifice" him at Mass during the Eucharist.  We don't dwell on His death by having these crucifixes.  But what these crosses do, with the body of Christ on them, reminds us.

Reminds us that once, over 2000 years ago, the Son of God came down as a tiny infant.  He was raised by some pretty amazing parents (Mother Mary and foster father Joseph). He learned a simple, but beautiful trade in carpentry.  Then spent a mere three years in public ministry trying to teach and spread the message of His Father to as many who would hear it.  All this, while knowing He would die.

That crucifix, which is affixed to almost every single room in my home, reminds me DAILY of His life.  Not only from the cross, but from His birth to the cross.  I see that crucifix and I thank God every.single.time.  I am not kidding.  Every. single. time.  I see a crucifix, I promise, I say 'thank you.'  He did that for me.  For you.  For my children.  For people 2000 years from now.  Hard to fathom that, isn't it?

Lent is that time to grow.  To die to yourself.  A little every time.  With each passing year, with each passing Lent, I die a little more to myself.  I fall.  I fall a LOT.  Ask the other 8 people who live in my home with me.  They'll tell you how much I fall.  How hard it is to do the right thing.  But that's what makes our faith so amazing.  God still loves me.  And between the sacraments of Healing and Reconciliation, and His never ending love, He scoops me up, and shows me how to keep going.  Through my own sacrifices during Lent, I can see just how hard it is to really give up something I love.  Give up something I enjoy.  A pleasure. Something I think I couldn't live without.

Just like Jesus.

I just can't live without Him.  I can not fathom my life with His body and blood shed upon that cross.  And I will stare at that crucifix every chance I get.  Just to remind me of what exactly it was He did for us.

That, my friends, is a sacrifice.  Gum?  Candy?  Ice cream?   Let's try to finish out the last week or so of our Lenten journey by finding that one thing that will truly cause us pause and see if we can 'let it go' for just a bit.

Then we can look at that crucifix and tell our Savior just how hard it was to give up that one thing for such a short time, and tell Him just how much we love Him for what He did that was so very huge.

God bless y'all.  And enjoy this springtime.  You won't get this one back ever again!
The reasons for my sacrifices....

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