March 6, 2016

Laetare Sunday

We are more than 1/2 way through Lent now as we celebrate Laetare Sunday.  Laetare comes from the Latin word meaning "to rejoice" in the Introit of today's Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Today the priest wears rose colored vestments to remind us of the joy of the resurrection soon to approach on Easter Sunday.

It's a good time to reflect on the first part of lent to see if we actually did our daily sacrifices and spiritual growth or if we haven't done anything at all. I know, time flies whether we are having fun or not.  I have been reading a splendid book by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life of Jesus Christ.  I have skipped to volume 4 for Lent.  Today I was reading about the temptations the evil one tempted Our Lord with in the Garden of Gethsemane (that should tell you how poorly I've been doing my spiritual reading as I should be much further ahead...)  Let's not underestimate the power of the evil one and his cunning skill.  

Today I found a really great spiritual goodie on spiritual sloth: Let's renew our efforts to make a good or better start!

How To Cure Spiritual Sloth!
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P. Used with permission, from the Passionist Priests, to help spiritually guide the layman.

Unfortunately, today's culture makes the slothful feel right at home. The hidden persuaders of the advertising and entertainment world accent always what is comfortable and pleasurable. They have little concern for the "unsearchable riches of Christ" preached so fervently by the Apostle Paul.

Yet, our Lord has clearly warned that we cannot be His disciples unless we deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. The slothful person cannot follow Christ because he shuns self-discipline and is weakened by self-indulgence. What starts off as mere distaste for spiritual effort quickly becomes a full-blown disgust for any kind of spiritual exercise.

Enough of the disease. What's the cure for spiritual sloth? The spiritual paralysis can be overcome in only one way-by MANLY RESISTANCE! Some temptations must be overcome by flight, and others by resistance. For example, thoughts that incite the vice of lust call for immediate flight; but the temptation to sloth must be met head-on.

The cure of sloth always begins in the mind. More and more meditation on the things of God is the basic medicine. Prayerful reflection on the beauty and grandeur of our Christian vocation removes the smog from the mind of the slothful.

An honest and thorough appraisal of one's spiritual state is a second means. This examination should uncover one's predominant weakness, as well as any carelessness in our essential spiritual duties. Resolutions should be made. This should be followed by a periodic check-up.

Reformation should begin with some small sacrifices. But be faithful and consistent in their performance. Don't bite off too much at once. Just as exercise restores a lost muscle tone, a daily sacrifice will restore spiritual vigor and vitality. It will increase your joy in living too.

Make the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass the highlight of your week...or your day. It's your encounter with the crowning achievement of our Blessed Lord's life. It channels the power and wisdom of the Cross into your heart and life. Coupled with fervent Holy Communions it will destroy any spiritual diseases.

If you are suffering from this spiritual paralysis, you don't have to do everything at once. But you must make a good start-even though it be in small things. Remember that our Lord said: "He that is faithful in what is least is faithful also in that which is greater." (Luke 16:10)

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