Give Up Jesus for Lent
Intrigued by my title, are you? Let me explain. In response to the outrage of public Masses being suspended, it’s caused great reflection to happen within myself as to, “why?” The “why” is a question that pertains to the outrage, not the suspension. My personal response was one of heartbreak and I felt that I couldn’t possibly live this life well and to its fullest without receiving the Eucharist daily as I regularly do.
I began to reflect on what I desired most from this Lent. What I desired most, and still do, is to trust God unreservedly and with my whole heart. I expressed this desire to a fellow devout Catholic who responded with: “You want to trust God? You better prepare to feel as absolutely useless as possible.” Strong words. I laughed. I realized that already. You know how they say, “Pray patience and God will give you the opportunities for patience”? I think it’s the same gist here. I actually wrote a prayer a few weeks ago reading, “Lord, make me as weak as you possibly can so that I rely completely on You.” You can’t say God doesn’t listen huh?
Now, let’s get back to my shockingly anti-Jesus title used here. Am I telling you to forsake your love and devotion to our Lord? Not in one bit whatsoever. No no no. In reference to our sacramental life here, Christ is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is Christ. I think we need to remember that the Sacraments are a precious gift given to us by our Lord and that we have no right to them or even to Him. We are so freely and completely loved by God that He has freely given us everything we are, down to our very breaths which are numbered. To quote the good man Job, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh, blessed be the Lord!” Let us praise the Lord for His presence in Holy Communion. Let us praise the Lord that we live in a nation with the religious freedom to receive Him daily. Let us praise the Lord that our hearts break and we feel desolate without being fed by the Eucharist. Let us praise Him in every circumstance. . . whatsoever it may be.
Not being able to attend Mass is out of our hands right now. I also ask you to consider our spiritual fathers, our dear priests. Many of them are older and may be susceptible to the current illness. I am not an alarmist at any rate but perhaps, just perhaps, the shortage of priests in Buffalo is a concern of our dear Lord. I speak my opinion there but it is something that stirred a concern within me.
In the final reference to “giving up Jesus for Lent”, let us trust Him that our desire for Him is so good, that He will never leave us. Let us offer up this suffering as a sacrifice and do it joyfully. Many of us have criticized our bishops for cancelling public Masses and have expressed disdain at receiving Communion on our hands (I know you’re out there. . . ), but let’s remember that Christ comes into the hearts of those who are truly humble — in the most real way imaginable. Let us trust Him. I prayed the Mass on EWTN’s YouTube channel this morning and the priest celebrating expressed that we must believe that we are receiving Jesus spiritually in communion. The level at which we receive Him and He lives in our hearts is contingent upon our faith.
This could be one of the greatest sacrifices for you. . . for the Eucharist is the greatest solace that we have in this life. What more is there? This epidemic has placed many of us in uncomfortable situations that rob us of daily comforts, pleasures, etc., but I, in my deepest heart, truly believe that here we will see the grandest opportunity for God to work miracles and to pour His grace out. There is never any weakness in this world that God cannot redeem with His grace. Trust Him. It’s the only way.
P.S. Remember Maximilian Kolbe? Yeah. He went weeks without having access to the Eucharist and died a martyr. We need great saints right now. Be humble.
This article was written by an awesome young adult named Mary Lou J. Stephens. You may or may not see them around but if you see them, be sure to say "hi". They may or may not like trees, puppies, newspaper, or even hand sanitizer.