Transforming Lenten Struggles

>> Tuesday, March 03, 2009

By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

My husband tells me with a mischievous smile that he “was put on this earth to make me a saint!” We laugh, but really I know he is more accurate than he may think. Our response to every situation and circumstance in our lives makes us either closer or further from God.

It is truly up to us how we will respond to these situations surrounding us. No one decides for us.

“A Christian has to fight on a daily basis, and especially during Lent, a test like the one Jesus passed in the desert. He was tempted by Satan during those forty days and again in Gethsemane, where He resisted the last temptation by accepting the will of the Father to the last final measure,” our Holy Father, Benedict, told us as we began this Lenten journey.

Each day, as Christians, we fight the fight. Each day we put one foot in front of the other, asking our Lord to guide our steps, to give us strength to pass by the things we are to avoid and embrace the things we are to handle. During these days of Lent, we are to be even more attentive to the things and people that encircle us.

We should be aware and remember that we will be given opportunities for extra grace through the many challenges we will most likely be presented with at this penitential time. Nothing is a coincidence. Prayer will be our saving grace and will help to transform our souls to be open to hear our Lord speaking to our hearts in the midst of our ordinary days.

Pope Benedict tells us, “Another aspect of Lenten spirituality is what we call a struggle, a contest…it is a spiritual fight, directed against sin, and, in the end, against Satan, the origin and beginning of every sin. It is a struggle that involves the whole person and requires permanent and watchful attention.”

Prayer, a conversation with the Divine, can be said at any time, in any place and will help put us into the spirit of repentance, giving us strength and courage to fight against temptation. Prayer will help us open our hearts more fully. We can make use of the sacrament of confession, frequent the Blessed Sacrament and call upon the Blessed Mother, Queen of All Virtues, seeking her help in aiding us to become more virtuous.

As we go about our ordinary days during Lent, let’s be sure to pause a moment to consider our response to everything that fills our days. And when we have missed the mark, we will vow to try harder and with more passion. We pray that our lives will become a response of wholehearted abandon to our Lord, accepting His holy will for us. Our Church gives us forty days to be more attentive. Hopefully, we won’t stop at Easter Sunday but will allow this attentiveness to spill into the remainder of our days throughout our lives.

The next time we encounter struggles, strife or suffering from our dear family members, coworkers or events in our daily lives, let’s pause and respond with love and thank God for giving them to us as aids in helping us along our road to sainthood.

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, mother of five and Lay Missionary of Charity writes from Connecticut. She is the author of the Best-selling book, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers, published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. Her book, The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home, published by Crossroad Publishing. Her book, Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine-Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be, bears a foreword by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta whom the author knew personally and was released in April 2007. These three books were encouraged and endorsed by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and given a blessing by Pope John Paul II. They are available through her website: Donna-Marie's latest books are: Catholic Saints Prayer Book , published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, The Domestic Church: Room by Room: A Mother's Study Guide, and Grace Cafe: Serving up Recipes for Faithful Mothering, both by Circle Press Publishing. Donna-Marie donates a portion of the proceeds to the Missionaries of Charity to help the poor, as well as parish organizations. Donna-Marie writes for a number of magazines, newspapers and Catholic websites. She has appeared on EWTN television, she has a regular radio segment called, "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection," Ave Maria Radio. She is a regular contributor to Catholic Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online, and Catholic Outpost. She lectures on a number of topics and can be reached through her website or at .


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