Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Giving up and Making Space for Love this Lent

 
 
 "I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by
Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

*********

I was particularly struck by a line that the priest said in his homily last Friday.  He said, "We give up something, not out of obligation this Lent, but because we want to love God more and we want to love others more."  It's a very timely reminder for all of us on why we fast and abstain during the season of Lent.  Lent invites us to draw closer to God who is love Himself; so that as we draw closer to Him, we would be transformed and purified by His love.
 
I also liked one of his examples to illustrate how we, Filipinos, demostrate how easily we give up our comfort to accommodate our neighbors who are in need.  He cited the experience of riding the jeepney as an example.  He said that jeepney passengers practice giving up their comfort every day to make space for a fellow passenger; because a lot of times, jeepneys which can normally seat only seven people are made to accommodate eight or nine passengers.  And for this to happen, the rest of the passengers will have to give up a bit of the space they are sitting on to the new passenger.  He said that somehow, this makes the "impossible" possible because there were people who chose to give up their comfort for the sake of another. I found this a very amusing and beautiful analogy.
 
Then, I was inspired to look into my own experiences and I was led to ponder on my life and my transformation from a very busy single working lady to a busy mom of two active little boys.
 
I have given up a lot of things, including many that made me comfortable, since I became a mom.  I chose to give up all those things, not out of obligation or duty for my family, but mainly for love.  I wanted to give the best to my kids.  Thus, I decided to give up my work before and the many perks (including travelling often) that went with having a job outside the home especially with the kind of job I used to hold.  I have given up much of my sleep and personal time to make time for my kids.  I have adjusted my lifestyle to accommodate three of God's greatest blessings in my life -- my husband and my two sons.  I'm actually amazed at how God had enabled me through His grace to make space for two little kids in my life and for helping my heart grow bigger to love not just one but two kids.  Indeed, only God can move our hearts to love more... Because He first filled our hearts with His love.  With this love from His Sacred Heart, we are then able to love those whom God has placed in our path.

 
 
This Lent, I have decided to fast not just on specific foods (like chocolates) that I enjoy eating.  I have also decided to fast from some negative behaviors or responses to some of the things that challenge my resolve to be more loving like God.  You can read here to find out more about it.
 
I have planned a number of activities for our young family to help us become more prayerful and loving to each other and to the poor around us.  I pray that as we get busy striving to do all these things this Lent, we would not forget or lose sight of the main reason why we choose to do all these things.

How are you making space for Love this Lent? What are you giving up?  Feel free to share it with me by leaving a comment in this post.

Have a meaningful and love-filled Lent!
 
Here are the links to some of my previous posts about Lent or during the season of Lent.  I will be posting more in the coming days so I hope you'd drop by again next time. :) 
 
Reflections:
  
Activities:
  
Recipes:


Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.  Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow! 




35 comments:

  1. I do feel closer to God as I give up things in Lent, just as I love my children more with each sacrifice I make for them. I never related the two before, but I have given up sleep, money, time and much more for the love of my children. Completely worth it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Crystal, I agree with you. Completely worth all the sacrifices!

      Delete
  2. Great ideas, and thank you for sharing your priest's words during the Homily- they resonate with me, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved the analogy too! My husband is deployed during this lent so I am simply uniting him being away with my Lenten prayers and as my main sacrifice. You have a lovely family. God Bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Stephanie. May God keep your husband safe while he's away.

      Delete
  4. Your post reminded me of a quote from the blog The Loveliest Hour:

    Lent is not about YOU: When I was a ‘new’ Catholic, I would attempt to offer up numerous things for Lent. Simple, ill-placed logic told me, “The more I offered up, the better the Lent!” Well, in reality, I just ended up frustrating myself…trying to keep up with all those self-imposed rules. I also later realized that these ‘sacrifices’ made me focus way too much on myself and not nearly enough on Jesus and those around me. In a way, I had allowed my offerings to become a competition — within myself (could I REALLY pull this off for 6 weeks!?) and with others (I wonder what they’re giving up…). Make your Lent about Jesus, not about you. Our offerings, sacrifices, prayers, participation should all be things that turn us away from ourselves and point our minds, hearts and bodies toward Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is such an important point...and something I fall into sometimes, including the frustration part! I think if the things we give up help us to pray more, it's a good thing! We can pray for help and encouragement to follow through, we can pray for reminders to stay on track. We can pray to have our desire for what we have given up replaced with a desire for something better for us or something that will draw us closer to Him. We can pray for a special intention, offering up our sacrifice for someone who is sick. It can be a memorized prayer...or simply a "Help me, Jesus" prayer.

      Delete
  5. Lovely reflection with great reminders. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the quote from your priest.
    "We give up something, not out of obligation this Lent, but because we want to love God more and we want to love others more."
    He simply stated the real reason for lent. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Motherhood has been my best opportunity to practice little sacrifices everyday also! It is so much easier to understand the love of Christ for us, and His willingness to lay down His life for us after we experience motherhood, I think. What a blessing our children are, and what a blessing our faith is too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also think that we mothers are privileged to be entrusted by God this unique role. Many of the pains and joys we experience can be related to God's love for us and His loving ways.

      Delete
  8. Hi Mommy Teresa, I agree with you that we should not only fast of 'food', but on negative emotions and acts. :) May you and your family have a blessed Lenten season! Love lots, Mommy Ginger

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mommy Ginger! It's much easier to fast on our favorite foods compared to fasting on negative bhaviors! May God grant us grace to do both. :)

      Delete
  9. I like what your priest had to say as it is a good reminder of what it is all about. So often we get caught up in the "rules" and not the meaning behind it. You have a beautiful family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Laura. Yes, we can be easily caught up in the rules. That's why it is a blessing to have priests/pastors/leaders and even fellow Christians who remind us what Lent is really all about.

      Delete
  10. I enjoyed your thoughts on fasting, not just form food, but from negative behaviors. I'm with you on this one!! I'm trying to work on being more attentive with my eyes when the children speak to me, and also watching my tone of voice (when I feel grumpy, it's often a sacrifice to smile and be cheerful!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susan. It's really challenging these days to fully pay attention to people we are talking to. There's so much distraction and noise around us. Lent would be good time to discippline our minds and hearts. God bless you on your plans this Lent.

      Delete
  11. I loved your priest's comment about jeepney passengers. I think it is a wonderful characteristic of Filipinos how willing they are to help others. Mabuhay Pinoy!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Teresa,
    Thank you for the inspiration...Your blog is truly a find. How fortunate that I am participating in then hop as well....I would not have found you, otherwise.
    Struck by your opening sentiment with the priest's homily...perfect...and how you later say that "This Lent, I have decided to fast not just on specific foods (like chocolates) that I enjoy eating. I have also decided to fast from some negative behaviors or responses to some of the things that challenge my resolve to be more loving like God."
    Yes, I so needed that.
    Thank you for the wisdom
    Looking fwd to keeping in touch through the blogosphere, Teresa...
    Have a lovely day
    God bless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Chris. I have also discovered many wonderful blogs in the past years that I have blogged more actively. I just don't have as much time as I would like to follow a number of blogs. Maintaining this online journal/blog is already a challenge given my two active little boys. :)

      Delete
  13. Sounds like a great homily - I like the way he made it so applicable to daily life. It's so true that we do sacrifice unconsciously when we really care about people... I also like your point about sacrificing negative attitudes or habits in addition to giving up something material - I try to do that as well... Wishing you and your family a very blessed Lent! I have two little boys also - a 2 year old and a 1 year old... a blessing that keeps me very busy, as I'm sure yours do too!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Those quotes by the priest are priceless. Very inspiring. God has given you the extraordinary gift of giving of yourself. His grace is sufficient and is transforming you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for this, how inspiring! I have a few attitude adjustments that I am working on this Lent, as well as more specific material sacrifices. I have to admit that I am much more successful with the giving up of material things. Which just means that I get an opportunity to grow in humility as well. Thanks for some encouraging words!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Heidi! May God's graces be upon you this Lent as you strive to draw closer to Him.

      Delete
  16. Hi Teresa,

    Great post! It's full of love! Including family, neighbors, and even strangers in your lent to love and to help is the very essence of this season.

    "Indeed, only God can move our hearts to love more... Because He first filled our hearts with His love. With this love from His Sacred Heart, we are then able to love those whom God has placed in our path." Amen to that!

    God bless you and your lovely family.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Teresa, you have a beautiful family! Was that a Christmas photo? You've done a great job answering God's call to be a wife and mother. It is hard to make that change of working a good job to staying home. Demands, needs, expectations are now in your face and 24/7! And I'm sure you wouldn't change for anything! God does fill a momma's heart with special blessings and graces to care for our little children...His little children. May God fill the hearts of your family with His abundant graces and blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Noreen. Yes, that photo was taken around Christmas time.

      Yesterday, I conducted a training program and teambuidling workshop for a group of managers and supervisors for one of my clients and the business owner asked me if I miss corporate life as an employee. I said sometimes but I don't plan to go back to that routine because I love my current lifestyle. :) I love the freedom that it gives me to do my primary duties and still earn on the side. I'm truly blessed to be given this opportunity by God. Only He made this possible.

      Delete
  18. you are right- How can a glass full of dirt, hold any Living Water. We give up some dirt to recieve more of Him. then our focus is on Jesus, not ourselves

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I like your analogy - giving up some dirt to receive more of Him.

      Delete