Here is the only guide you need as a gay Catholic to make it through Lent. As we know, Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday and during this period, we as Catholics (both gay and straight) remember the horrible events that lead to Jesus being placed on the cross and the triumph of Jesus rising from the dead. It is also a very important time to look at our lives and adjust things that may be hindering our ability to grow closer to God.
Here is my guide to making this year’s Lent one that will bring me closer to God.
I must admit, lately I have not prayed as I often as should. There have been days that I did not pray at all, days I did not even thank God for allowing me to wake up, for all good things in my life. With Lent upon us, I feel this is a great time to refocus my life and find time to pray daily. One thing that I had been doing for a few months was dedicating my good deeds for that day to the souls in Purgatory. The reason for this is to help the poor souls in Purgatory find forgiveness with God through my offering of the good deeds I did that day. This is something that I have been working on doing daily again and plan to make it a part of my regular routing during Lent and hopefully beyond.
As I have mentioned in past blog postings, I run a website that sole purpose is to join people in a single prayer for an end to abortion. The goal is to have people sign up for 20 minutes and during that time pray for an end to abortion. This is another area where I have failed, I have not been praying for an end to abortion on a regular bases. This is something I am working on improving too. I am planning to attend Mass every Wednesday night (unless I have to work). After this Mass the Rosary is said for an end to abortion. This usually last for a bit over 20 minutes, which I would count as my time for the week for praying for life to triumph over death.
For a few months I was struggling with making it to Mass. I would have excuses like I am too busy working or because I just moved, I have this and that I need to get done. Really all I was doing was making excuses on why I could not make time for God. My solution during Lent is to attend Mass weekly, be it on a Wednesday, Saturday or a Sunday. Attending Mass is key in helping to bring one closer to God.
Give Up Something Difficult
Typically during Lent I give up one thing, usually it is something simple like not eating cookies or drinking pop. Giving up pop for me is easy because it is not something that I drink on a regular bases. Cookies are a bit more difficult because they are something I enjoy eating, but again, I do not eat cookies daily. This year I decided that in several areas I was struggling and I needed to do something to get these things back in line. Thank God for Lent.
See, when I am struggling with certain issues, I honestly do not allows have the strength to convince myself to make the right changes in my life. Let me give you an example. This year one of the things I gave up was snacking. This means all I can eat is breakfast, lunch and dinner. For some this may not be a big deal, but for me I was having trouble staying away from treats. Often at work I would make a trip to the vending machine to get a treat, when I got home from work I would find something to munch on before dinner and before bed I would have a little something to hold me over until morning.
Because of all the snacks I was eating, I put on weight, so much weight that my pants have started to feel a little snug. Without giving up snacks for Lent, I do not think I would have been able to just give them up. For me it is about doing this for God, not for myself. If I do not keep myself healthy, how am I going to be able to do any good deeds for God? I would not be able to, I would just be able to seat in front of the TV with a bag of potato chips and complain about how terrible my life was. I do not want that and I do not think God does either for me.
Putting it All Together
Changing my routine is difficult. I work three jobs and my hours vary greatly week to week depending on my much work my web design business generates. With more demands on my at both my jobs, I have struggled with finding the balance in my life to where I found time for God and time to complete all the things I felt were important. Thank God for Lent, a time that I can use to help bring me back to where I should have been all along.
This year I do plan to make the most of Lent and really focus on bring my life back into order. Since the start of Lent and refocusing my life on the things that really should matter, I have seen a positive change in my life. I just hope that after Lent is done, I can continue down the path I started on Ash Wednesday and build a closer relationship to God.