WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF LENT?
Your answer should be: “HEAVEN“.
Why did God make us and every rational being? KLSO – God made us to: Know Him, Love Him, Serve Him, & Obey Him.
What do we get if we do so? HEAVEN.
What is so great about Heaven? Since God Is The Only Being, Who makes us perfectly happy, when we die and go to Heaven, we see God, Face to face, and we enjoy perfect peace, happiness, and joy, not for just a few moments, but for all eternity, which never ends.
How does Lent help us to get to Heaven?
Lent is the most important season of grace all year. During Lent, we are to change to become closer to God, so that we can repeat our Baptismal Vows at Easter and be able to keep them well. The more we keep our Baptismal Vows, the closer we are to God and to His Reward for a life lived with Him here on earth and a holy, happy death, which allows us to go straight to Heaven, with no stops along the way.
We should follow a M/A/P to the Empty Tomb, from whence our Lord triumphantly rose from the dead, at Easter.
M = Mortification
A = Almsgiving
P = Prayer
M = One of the ways to help us to become closer to God is to detach ourselves from material things and attach ourselves ever closer to God and to the things of God. Mortification, which means dying to the flesh, helps empty us somewhat of our material desires and helps us to be more open to the Whisperings/Inspirations of The Holy Spirit. We are also trying to imitate Jesus Christ’s Example when He fasted from food and water for 40 days before He began His Public Ministry on earth. He did not need to fast, as He was perfectly detached from all earthly things, but He Is The Way we are to live and die holily, so He gave us The Example to follow when He fasted. We can abstain from more than one thing, and it should be something, which is not absolutely necessary to eat or drink, and it can include smoking, as well. We can begin any good habit or begin to get a handle on any bad habit, during Lent. The more difficult it is, the more The Lord will appreciate our sacrifice and the more He will reward us by helping us to be more like Him and to be closer to Him at the end of Lent: Easter.
A = giving alms or donations to those in need or to those, who are our enemies. Our Lord Jesus Christ lived on donations/alms during His Public Ministry, yet He still had the person, who controlled the purse/money give money to others, who were poor or in need. Our Lord did this, even though He did not have a home in which to live and often slept outside on the ground. This should show us that we all have something we can give to others in need. If we cannot give money or material help, we can pray fervently, daily, for those we meet and those we don’t even know, who need help. We also should help materially and/or by prayer those, who don’t like us or who are estranged from us – our neighbors are those, who are in need and who are our enemies. Our Lord showed us how to treat our enemies, when He said to The Father from The Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He forgave those, who were torturing Him, murdering Him, spitting upon Him, blaspheming Him, even though they did not ask or want His Forgiveness. If we do not show Mercy to or forgive those, who hurt us, God will not show Mercy or forgive us – as shown to us in the “Our Father”. We can say, daily, about our unforgiven enemies: “Jesus, I forgive him/her/them; help me to forgive him/her/them,” until we do forgive him/her/them.
P = If we do not pray, we cannot reach Heaven. Why not? We cannot reach Heaven on our own – we have to rely on help from God, often through His Saints, to reach Heaven. How do we obtain this help? Well, naturally, we want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, and where we want to do it – that is our will – what we want and don’t want to do. But, we can only get to Heaven by doing God’s Will. So, how do we find out what His Will for us is, and how do we get the power to go against our wills to do God’s Will?
We learn our Faith – memorize The Ten Commandments, which are written on each person’s heart and are our elementary guide to a holy life. When we have managed to keep for the most part, the Commandments, and go frequently to Confession – weekly – to reconcile ourselves to God when we fall, then, we try to live out the New Commandments of The New Testament/Covenant: The Beatitudes.
We can only live out well The Beatitudes if we are drinking regularly and frequently from the wellsprings of grace, which are the Seven Sacraments. Through the Seven Sacraments, which our Lord instituted, we receive grace – the power to do God’s Will – and to live, as He did. Through Baptism, we become Children of God. The heavy burden of Original, Mortal Sin is lifted off of our souls, so that we can see what is right and wrong, true and false much more easily. (St. Matt.:28:19) According to Proverbs 24:16: “For a just man shall fall seven times and shall rise again…” As our Lord knew, that the majority of us would sin several times a day, He wanted to give us a means to make up to Him for our betrayals and to become His close Friends again, so He gave us Confession or Penance (St. John: 20:21-23). This is an incredible gift, which nothing can buy – peace with God. The Most Holy Eucharist is our Daily, Spiritual Food, our “Daily Bread”. Each time we “commune” with Him, receive “Jesus-looking-like-Bread/Jesus-looking-like-Wine”, He helps us to do His Will, imitate Him, and become ever closer to Him (St. Matt.: 6:11). When we receive Confirmation while we are in a state of grace or are returned to a state of grace, later, God makes us Soldiers in Christ – gives us the Seven Gifts of The Holy Ghost: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude (or courage), knowledge, piety – love of God – and fear of the Lord. Holy Orders gives us spiritual fathers, called by God to consecrate their lives to leading us to Heaven – to teach us, to govern us, and to sanctify us (St. John:20:22). Through Holy Matrimony, The Holy Ghost descends upon a validly baptized man and woman, who are in a state of grace/friendship with God, for whom no impediments exist. He gives this couple the grace to remain together for the rest of their lives, to live at least civilly with each other, to help each other to be good and become Citizens of Heaven. The couple have to be open to all of the children, whom God wants to send them and are responsible before Him to raise them to be Citizens of Heaven, as well. In this way, the Kingdom of Heaven is built up. The Anointing of the Sick is administered by Catholic Priests to a Catholic, who is in danger of death or who is dying. If the Catholic is cognizant, he should make a good Confession; then the Priest will, through the power given to him, from God, forgive his sins and anoint him, so that if he were to die at that very moment, without sinning, even in thought, the Catholic would go straight to Heaven. Sometimes, the Catholic is healed not only spiritually but physically, as well. That is why, if a Catholic is to undergo a dangerous operation, he should receive the Anointing of the Sick, first.
PRAY!—Prayer is communication with God – to adore Him, love Him, ask for forgiveness, and finally petition Him for our and/or others’ needs. Prayer should start in the morning and should be done regularly at various times throughout the day and night and in case of need. Prayer helps us to receive the Sacraments well, so that we gain the maximum amount of grace to do God’s Will – not ours – and get to Heaven when we die. Some important prayers include: The Holy Rosary, The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, The Way of The Cross, The Morning Offering, The Angelus, The Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, The Act of Contrition, Prayers before & after Holy Communion, Prayers before & after Confession,… If we pray one or more of the above daily, & make more frequent use of the Sacraments, we will definitely become closer to God and following in His Way. (Some of these prayers are found on this website, i.e., “Divine Mercy NOW!” and “Prayers Daily, PD2, and PD 3”, which can be printed out.)
Print out, hand out, and follow the attached M/A/P to a good Lent, a joy-filled Easter, & a closer relationship with Jesus, our Savior & our King!
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