Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 20 April |
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

When your Lenten sacrifice is chosen for you

ELDERLY WOMAN

Pixel-Shot | Shutterstock

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 03/02/21

Knee surgery, a colicky baby -- your cross isn't going anywhere. Ask for help to carry it bravely.  

I had a conversation with an elderly neighbor the other day. She was wincing in pain, talking about how desperately she needs a knee replacement; how none of her medications work anymore. A little while later, the subject of Lent came up.

“Oh Lent …” she said guiltily, “I keep meaning to give something up — chocolate or TV — but (she rubbed her knee) I’m just so distracted.”

“How about giving up pain-free knees?” I said wryly, and she laughed aloud, because she understands my horrible sense of humor.

That being said, I wasn’t joking; not a bit. My neighbor’s situation reminded me acutely of the Lent in which I’d given birth to my fourth child (that made 4 boys in 5 years). Oh, and this baby opted for a month-long NICU stay, so I had to find a way to care for his three brothers (ages 2, 3 and 5) while driving two hours round trip each day to deliver freshly-pumped breast milk. I remember venting to my confessor:

“Not only do I not want to give up anything this Lent, I need extra chocolate and Netflix to stay sane!”

Embracing

To my surprise, this wise old owl raised an imaginary glass in agreement. He did, however, encourage me to “embrace this trial bravely, with as little complaining as possible.” (Ouch.)

My confessor’s wisdom reminded me of the time Pope Benedict XVI shepherded us in a similar way: “It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it, and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.”

One of the founding members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in New York City, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, had much wisdom to share on suffering too. He once said:

[If] people could choose the crosses that they bear in this life, they would end up [in hindsight] choosing the ones they were given. I never would have chosen this cross. But now that I have been given it, I will carry it.

And by God’s grace, we’ll carry our crosses, too.




Read more:
This is the pope’s recommended Lenten fast

Tags:
HealthLent
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
3
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
6
OSORNO
Brett Salkeld
How to vaccinate like a Catholic
7
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
The lasting lesson from the late Prince Philip
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.