Ash Wednesday, March 1st 2017- Post 1
My name is Maddie Zenk and I have been given the honor of getting to share my Lenten journey with you through a series of blog posts. I am a junior biomedical science major at CSU with plans to attend medical school after graduation. I was raised Catholic and have attended the sacraments regularly all my life, but in high school I lacked a real, personal relationship with God. I experienced an awakening of my faith during the Ram Awakening retreat fall of my sophomore year of college. I have been an active member of ramCatholic ever since, and can honestly say that this community is responsible for forming me into the practicing Catholic I am today. I hope that in writing this blog and sharing my testimony as part of the Easter appeal I can give back to this community that has embraced me and all my brokenness and led me towards the outstretched arms of our Lord.
When first asked to share my testimony and write this weekly blog, I was shocked. A repeating track played in my head for days: “I’m not cut out for this. Why me?” and “What will I write about?” and my personal favorite “I don’t have time for this”. Yet here I am, typing up the first of a series of Lent-inspired blogs I will be sharing with you during the next 40 days.
So, I figure if we are going to be spending these 40 days together, it’s best that I be honest and vulnerable right off the bat…
I’m entering into this season of Lent a little apprehensively. After all, tomorrow is a big day for me! This is the first year that Ash Wednesday has rolled around and I’ve had a good enough knowledge of my Catholic faith and an intimate enough relationship with Christ to see Lent for what it really is: a time for preparation and transformation.
For years, I was trapped in the belief that Lent was a 40 day period of sadness and subsequent fasting and penance necessary for us to feel even the least bit worthy of Christ’s love and mercy. But the truth is, Lent isn’t about denying yourself dessert or TV in an attempt to please God; it’s about preparing yourself, your broken self, for the inevitable but undeserved gift that is Christ’s death and resurrection.
The purpose of Lent is preparation of the believer. Preparation of the broken believer for the redemptive mercy of Christ.
So, when deciding what to give up or do for Lent, I think it is important to keep this sense of preparation in mind. Ask yourself:
What thing or habit distracts me from God? What thing or habit often supersedes Christ on my to-do list? What, if removed from my life, will allow me the opportunity to grow closer to Him?
In what way is my relationship with God lacking? What could I do to strengthen that relationship?
What gifts or talents do I have that I use selfishly, rather than for the benefit of others? How can I use these gifts to further God’s Kingdom?
How can I best prepare myself for the coming of our Lord?
Because, in the same way that we would clean the house and ready ourselves in preparation for a dinner guest, we must clean our lives and ready our hearts for Christ.
So after asking myself these questions and spending quite some time in prayer, I have come to the conclusion that I will be giving up my time for Lent this year. Remember that bit at the beginning when I complained about not having enough time to devote to this blog? That’s the problem and the broken mindset that I am devoted to fixing this Lenten season. There should always be time in our day for God. I have time for studying, time for eating, sleeping, hanging out with friends, looking at social media. So I must also have time to devote to our Lord. And if I don’t, I must make time.
In addition to posting weekly on this blog, I will also be spending 30 minutes a day in the adoration chapel and will be leading a Lenten bible study. An attainable goal, but one that I hope will help me in preparing my heart for the love and mercy Jesus has in store.
So yes, I’m entering into this season of Lent with some apprehension. But I am also entering into this season with a feeling of excitement and expectancy, because how incredible will it be to see our healing and growth on Easter that came as a direct result of our preparation during these 40 days of Lent? If we prepare well, we give God permission to transform us: to heal our wounds, deepen our faith, and fill our hearts.
So please, join me on this 40 day preparative journey! I am certain that with our hearts and minds set on preparing ourselves as believers, God will work in incredible ways.
Maddie Zenk is a junior biomedical science major at Colorado State University. She is also a very active member of Ram Catholic. Maddie is on the Student Advisory Board, leads Bible Studies, and helps to evangelize on campus. Ram Catholic is excited to follow her journey this Lent!
“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you.” -Hosea 10:12
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