This statement by Diane McKelva is a sentiment I share as well. 50 Shades of Grey is currently the #1 movie and on the lips of every American, t.v., magazine, newspaper, and radio. What I would rather hear on everyone’s lips is the 50 shades of grey placed on our foreheads during Lent. Lent is an important Liturgical Season that gives us an opportunity to change, change our thoughts and hearts from sinfulness to Christ, and we have 40 days to make that happen. During the year, we tend to fall away from our disciplines of striving for holiness and our hearts begin to harden. Lent is a good time to refocus and work hard to till our hearts so they can soften and let love enter.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say,
The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart.25 Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!”26 God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced:27
Pope Francis talks about changing your heart too, in his Lenten message, 2015,
“During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: ‘Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum’: Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”
There are five disciplines known to change a hardened heart, and they are named disciplines for a reason. Disciplines are not easy, they take practice and sacrifice, but if we make allowances in our schedule we will master the disciplines to create needed change.
#1. PENANCE~ Pope Francis knows well the importance of forgiveness he was the first of the clergy to go to confession before giving the Sacrament to others. There is healing in receiving absolution for our sins. We often need to forgive others who have hurt us and we may need to forgive ourselves too.
Pope John Paul II, who frequented the Sacrament of Confession on a weekly basis, said:
“We live in a society that seems to have lost the sense of God and of sin. Christ’s invitation to conversion is all the more urgent.“It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, according to the vocation one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and reconciliation. Those who go to Confession frequently and do so with the desire to make progress, will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives.”
#2. GO TO MASS~ Attempt a daily mass in addition to Sunday mass for extra strength from the Eucharist during Lent. Mass is where heaven touches earth, and our prayers join with the community, clergy, saints and angels that have touched down to pray with us and for us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
1436 Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist, those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins.”35
#3. PRAY~ There is so much power in prayer I could sit here and write forever about the miracles I’ve witnessed and experienced through its power. Mary Mother of God has said at Fatima that the rosary is a weapon against Satan and has the power to stop wars. We forget how powerful prayer is, and Lent is a good time for us to add it to our daily routine.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
#4. READ SCRIPTURE~ Every day take some time to read the daily Scriptures, the Psalms or any passage that strikes you. Scripture is alive and will touch your heart deeply.
105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
#5. CHARITY~ Taking the focus off of ourselves and putting it onto others not only allows us to bless them, but it opens our eyes to see how much we are blessed. Love is sacrifice and unless we give until it hurts it does not go deep enough to heal. Mother Teresa says it best
You may have ones that are not listed that you have found helpful, please add them to the list by commenting below.
“Part Two Section Two Chapter Two Article Four 1432, 1436, .” Compendium, Catechism of the Catholic Church. Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006. Print.
“PART ONE THE PROFESSION OF FAITH SECTION ONE “I BELIEVE” – “WE BELIEVE” CHAPTER TWO GOD COMES TO MEET MAN ARTICLE 3 SACRED SCRIPTURE 105.” Compendium, Catechism of the Catholic Church. Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006. Print.