Editor’s Note: Another area of growth for The Well is our newly organized team of writers who will share monthly contributions here at the blog, providing encouragement and feminine companionship for the spiritual journey. Here’s Cindy’s Lenten reflection.
Would this itching ever stop?!? My family loves fostering kittens, but #42 came with fleas and was happy to share them with our four pets. Of course, our pets showed their love by sharing them with us. Those bites really do itch! First we treated all of the animals. That didn’t work so we upped the ante and treated the pets, their beds, and continued to give our dog flea baths. Those darn things were still making our lives miserable. We tried really hard to fix the problem by ourselves. But when we couldn’t, we called in the professionals, a local pest control service. The pest control service made us aware of so much more than we had originally thought of. Anything that could go through the washing machine was washed in hot water. Things that could only go in the dryer were dried on the hottest setting for at least 30 min. Pillows and stuffed animals that didn’t fit into those categories were sealed into garbage bags, not to be opened for 3 weeks. What I thought was a minor issue my family could certainly handle on our own ended up being a big deal!
Isn’t that how sin is? We know it is in our lives. In fact, it’s found in some of the things that we really love to do. We really love to talk with our friends, but do we refrain from gossip and speak the truth with love? Gossip is a great example of a sin that keeps on giving. Or maybe there’s a magazine that if you really looked at the content, spends a great deal of its time talking about celebrities who lead less than Godly lives and highlights issues that aren’t in line with Church teachings. Sure, your kids are going to be exposed to that stuff anyway, but if they see you accepting that as okay, don’t you think that they will see it as something that is acceptable in their life too?
Sin grows, just like our problem with the fleas. We figure it’s not a big deal, we can fix it. But sin can be a slippery slope. If you let yourself watch these movies, then it won’t be too bad if you read those books with the scantily clad women on the cover. But what message does your daughter get when she sees that cover?
Sin can hurt. To get rid of it we might have to scald ourselves. Just how serious are your bad habits? Is God calling you to set yourself free?
It’s A LOT of work. Sin can enter our life very innocently. Yes, I need to help out this acquaintance that just got divorced. That’s how I can show mercy. I like that he has time to appreciate my help, unlike my husband who I’ve been helping for 20 years. To re-program yourself is hard. Sometimes it’s more than just re-programing your brain. Sometimes it’s re-programming your heart. That takes time and hard work.
Call in the Professionals. Finally, sometimes we need to call in the professionals. Go to Confession. What a gift we have as Catholics in that Sacrament! A non-Catholic said they were really glad that their protestant religion did not include confessing sins to a priest. “I’m sorry,” I replied, “I don’t think I could actually believe that I’ve been forgiven without hearing it with my own ears.” Maybe it is a spiritual director or a Stephan’s Minister that would help you in your journey toward Christ. Just like the pest control service, they are the experts. Each one of them has received education about our Faith and our God.
Seal it Away. Lent is a good time to seal away anything that isn’t drawing you closer to God. You seal away things when you have fleas. After three weeks the fleas and any eggs or larva will be dead. After sealing away anything that distracts you from your relationship with God during Lent, you hope that old sin has died. It can be replaced with peace, light, love, and grace to draw you closer to HIM.
Sin is nothing to take lightly. Don’t mess with sin because it is of the Evil One and his goal is to separate you from God. If he can use you to draw others away from Christ through your actions, even better! Just plan on keeping a flea collar on at all times so you can prevent fleas…I mean sins, in the first place.