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living liturgically

Catholicism

What I Love Most About Lent

February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday is finally upon us and I am totally pumped up!!

Wait…What?

Who gets psyched for Lent aka the liturgical season of sacrifice, penance, and suffering?

You guessed it.

This girl does! (Amanda, not Adele, just to clarify. She might love Lent too but I’ve never asked her.)

Don’t mistake me for some pious and holy person, let me tell you that’s certainly not the case.

I must admit my melancholic temperament is drawn to the darker and deeper stuff in life such as pain, injustice, suffering, death, and mortality.

Ew, right?

Don’t be deceived by how happy I appear. I may be often smiling but I can assure you I am actually thinking about Sarah Mclachlan dog commercials.

Kidding.

Sort of.

All that to say that sure, I might be more inclined to enjoy the Lenten season, but I think it’s awesome for people of all temperaments.

Here in this post, I want to share with you a few reasons of why I love Lent and why I think you should too.

Intentionality

First, I want to say I absolutely love being Catholic for a host (wink, wink) of reasons but particularly because of the liturgical calendar. 

Weirdo alert again, amirite?

But seriously, it’s amazing that the Church makes sure her children’s spiritual lives don’t get imbalanced by neglecting certain parts of the life of Christ. This is why we have the rotating Mass readings that essentially take us through all of scripture every three years in addition to all the rotating seasons such as Advent, Lent, Ordinary time, Feast Days, etc.

So much wisdom in the liturgical calendar.

My point is that I love how Lent is an annual season set aside to go deeper in reflection on the life and death of Jesus Christ.

It’s easy to hang with joyfully resurrected Jesus but I absolutely need to occassionally remember what he went through to win Heaven for mine and the souls of all mankind. If I don’t deeply enter into the pain he endured and the wounds inflicted upon him, I will miss something in my spiritual life. I will be stunted from growth. I will be disconnected from Christ in a very intimate way I may not even be aware of.

I’m just so darn thankful that the Church gives us this supreme gift of being able to take 40 days to draw closer to Jesus in his suffering and death. Through this intentional time, we’re given the chance to draw closer to him and obtain strength for our own trials in life as we unite those to Christ.

Lenten Sacrifices

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Don’t even get me started on this one.

We live in a world (at least in the USA) that is so convenient. We don’t have to wait on much of anything anymore.

At the drop of a hat you can download a song, watch a YouTube video, Facebook message you friend from around the world, order Jimmy Johns, binge a Netflix series, buy something on Amazon that will show up less than 2 days later, Google any question you might have, etc. Technology has essentially taken away many immediate needs.

We don’t have to wait or give up anything…which means our sacrificial muscles are atrophied severely.

It’s not just a spiritual belief that fasting is actually GOOD for you. We know that ocassional fasting from food actually has health benefits but this principle applies to sacrificing other things too like time spent in front of screens or on the internet among thousands of other things you could temporarily step away from.

Sure, the fasting from foods, activities, and habits is a good thing in and of itself but what’s beneficial about giving things up is that it creates space in your soul and schedule for more prayer and an opportunity to draw closer to Christ, who gave up everything for us. We can unite our desire for coffee, Facebook, and Netflix to Jesus and allow him to draw us into his own sacrificial love.

Again, so much wisdom the Church is inviting her children into.

Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Last but not least, I think there is no other season like Lent that provides the opportunity to do some serious spring cleaning within your soul.

Just try watching The Passion of The Christ without being deeply moved.

Now spend 40 days meditating on and mulling over the passion and death of Our Lord and prepare to get rocked.

When we GET IT and truly realize not only who Jesus was and what he did for us out of love, we can’t help but be changed forever. He paid the price for us and gave us what we didn’t deserve because of our own mistakes. What mercy!

Each Lent is an opportunity to have a deeper conversion. To unite your suffering and pain to Christ, who can redeem everything. To allow the light of God to cast out the dark parts of your life through the Sacrament of Confession. It’s a new beginning every year. A set aside opportunity to heal. It’s truly a beautiful opportunity.

 

Here at True Good & Beautiful we wish you a Lent filled with mercy and grace. May you draw closer to the heart of Jesus, the one who wildly loves you and wants to draw you closer to him these next 40 days!

If you are looking for resources on how to go deeper this Lent, check out Lentsanity. Jonathan is the brain-child behind almost everything you’ll see over there! 🙂

God bless!

Catholicism, Marriage

How We’re Celebrating Advent

December 3, 2013

Happy Advent!

I wanted to share some of our Advent traditions we are forming around the Teixeira home. I must tell you…it hasn’t been easy to choose these preparations. I tend to lean towards unleashing the Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, fire up the oven for baking Christmas goodies, decorating the whole house in lights and ornaments. Jonathan tends to lean towards actually waiting to celebrate Christmas until it’s Christmas and using Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas…crazy, right?!?! 

You can imagine our clash in preferences…but by golly, I must admit Jonathan is right on this one. It’s Advent…a season of preparation. Good marketing in the last 30 years has eradicated the culture’s perception on the liturgical season of Advent. People jump right from Thanksgiving into the flurry of  parties, music, baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, eating, and celebrating so much so they are burnt out once Christmas actually arrives. Many people wake up the day after Christmas ready to clean everything up, assess the damage on their credit cards, exchange unwanted items, and move on with life. They’ve already been celebrating Christmas for weeks by this point. Liturgically, this is just when the party should be getting started. 

So Jonathan and I struck a deal and decided to deck the house out Advent-style. We would put as much emphasis on Advent as the culture is trying to get us to prematurely put on Christmas. Check out some of the decorations.

We have a tree! It's complete with lights AND purple (color of Advent!) ornaments.

We have a tree! It’s complete with lights and purple (one of two Advent colors) ornaments.

A homeade Advent Wreath sits on our kitchen table now. Nearby are books we are using to pray nightly devotions and prayers.

A homeade Advent Wreath sits on our kitchen table. Nearby are books we are using to pray with. We chose a daily devotion filled with Mother Theresa reflections and the Christian Prayer booklet for Night Prayer.

 

Jonathan gets to light the candle AKA play with fire for a few minutes. This may or may not be his favorite part of the tradition.

Jonathan gets to light the candle AKA play with fire for a few minutes. This may or may not be his favorite part.

These are lavendar scented candles from Walmart. The pink one is Sweet Pea scented. There are WAY more sophisticated Advent Wreaths out there I suggest you copy. I am not the crafty type so this is what we’ve got folks. If you wander over to this blog you will see more skill, crafts, and ideas for making Advent something to get the kiddos engaged in and excited about.

For the music…the only song I know that is Advent approved is “O Come O Come Emmanuel” so I created a playlist on Spotify with 135 versions sung by different artists. If you know of any more, I would really appreciate it. The best versions I have found so far:

1. O Come O Come Emmanuel by The Piano Guys – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7ySn-Swwc

2. O Come O Come Emmanuel by The Civil Wars – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiGyRAhpgQo

3. O Come O Come Emmanuel by Matt Maher – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlylvEkpJzw

4. O Come O Come Emmauel by Sufjan Stevens – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN3upltWtm0

5. O Come O Come Emmanuel by Shane and Shane – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIApy9rd7jw

Lastly, we dress in the corresponding candle color of the week to Sunday Mass, per Jonathan’s request (not an unusual request if you know my husband at all).  I couldn’t get a photo to turn out yesterday but I wore a purple scarf and Jonathan wore a purple shirt. We will continue this next week and the last week of Advent. On the third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we will show up wearing pink.

There you have it. What are your Advent traditions??? We’d love to hear them!