Ah, the season of Lent! The season of holiness. Of penance. Of fasting. Of alms giving. Of suffering. The season of joy. Indeed, it is a holy season of fasting, praying and making reparation for sin particular ways. It is fully entering the desert with Christ and dying to ourselves, so we may rise with Him in the glory of His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
But, we can also receive joy. For those on earth who love God, we long to be as united with Him as possible. If we embrace this season of Lent, if we experience “little sufferings” and trials and enter a desert time, these offerings and sacrifices will truly unite us with Our Lord. This should bring us joy! Even in discomfort, we can take heart because we are united and console the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Home Team has been very busy with retreats and events this month of February: Lifeline, the Gathering, two Confirmation Retreat Weekends, regular NET retreats 5-6 days per week, and NET nights, our monthly mini-retreats at several different parishes.
For NET nights, we have the privilege of writing our own talks (based on outlines we receive from our supervisors). One of our teammates gave a talk to the teens on modesty. She enlightened all by explaining that modesty does not only refer to dress; the Lord also calls us to modesty in speech and action. She used the term decency to explain dress, discretion to explain speech, and patience to guide our behavior. When we are immodest, we degrade our own dignity and that of others. With a lack of decency, discretion or patience, we can lead others into temptation or sin. In doing so, we “take life” from them, rather than give it.
We as a NET team did our best to ease the teens in small group discussions because many cringed at this particular topic, thinking we were going to shove a bunch of rules onto them. But, for the women, we took the discussion deeper to talk about what true love means. To love is to will the good of the other (thanks, St. Augustine). True love works for salvation. True love desires to help others reach Heaven. If we truly want to love others, we would live by this one statement. It could potentially change our lives by guiding what we say, wear and do. The youth seemed to respond well to this deeper approach about why modesty is important. And may I mention that this topic has been very fruitful for us, too? We decided to evaluate the ways we fail in these areas — particularly discretion in speech. It has been quite humbling! Venerable Matthew Talbot said, “In company, guard your tongue; in your family, guard your temper; when alone, guard your thoughts.”
Every NET team this year from January through May is asked to do Scripture memory using the “Catholic Topical Memory System.” It is a book of over 60 verses of Scripture with supplemental meditations and questions. We, along with all the other teams, are following the format of memorizing two verses a week. Many of us realized it is extremely difficult to memorize the reference (i.e. Acts 2: 41a-42) and verse simply by reading and saying it over and over. It is quite ineffective. Therefore, we must take it to personal prayer and let the living Word speak and then actively sink into our hearts. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” (Colossians 3:16). It takes more effort and discipline but proves to be so much more rewarding!
How fitting it is that our team is focusing on Scripture memory during Lent. Everyone knows the devil will attempt to trap and deceive us, and the Bible is our best defense against the enemy. Why? Because when He was in the desert, Jesus’ primary weapon against the devil was the Scriptures! Christ teaches us perfectly how to react in time of temptation: armor ourselves with the living Word. Scripture memory has already transformed our team life. We find ourselves reciting and reviewing in the van together and creating fun games and Catholic Apologetics questions. It may sound a little dorky, but it’s awesome!
Ephesians 6:10, 17 says, “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil…and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. The Word of God was Christ’s battle cry. He was victorious. Let us learn from our Savior and follow suit.
Have a blessed Lent!
Peace be with you,