“What is more important than the practices we take on is the heart attitude behind them. If there’s anything we should give up this time of year, it’s our sense of superiority either to those outside the church or those inside the church who do things differently than we do. The cross levels us all. And that’s true whether or not you practice Lent.” ~ Trevin Wax
“Watch your attitude.” If I heard that once, I heard that a thousand times growing up, especially my days in the Catholic grade school I attended until seventh grade. The nuns, in particular, loved to use that phrase. For me, I thought it was just that, a catch phrase of sorts. It didn’t really mean a whole lot to me at the time. Attitude? What’s she talking about? What attitude?
As I got older, I began to appreciate what those good Sisters were trying to convey. Attitude is a vital part of the foundation of our lives. It we approach things with a good attitude, with the proper attitude, we will be able to get so much more out of our experiences and will be able to contribute positively to others as well.
There are those who adopt an attitude of superiority toward others in regard to Lenten practices. They look down on others’ acts of penance stating that it is not enough. They mock others’ works of charity claiming that they can do so much more. In doing so, their attitude suggests that Lent is not a time for personal mortification and working on relationships with God. They reflect, instead, a belief that Lent is some kind of competition with others. The one who fasts the most, wins.
How untrue. I think that is one of the reasons why the Church presents the same Gospel to us every Ash Wednesday in which we are reminded to keep our fasting and works of mercy to ourselves so that they may be between us and God. That is the goal of Lent. That is the goal of our daily lives.
Keep your Lent to yourself. Let God be the only one who knows what and why you are doing what you do. Your relationship with Him will become that much stronger and, in the process, you will benefit others by your humble, holy attitude toward life.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t be concerned about what anyone else is doing for Lent. Focus upon your own promises to God and strive to be faithful to Him.