Handling Extra Baggage
by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
Continuing Our Lenten Journey
As I continue my reflections on our Lenten Journey, I would like to turn towards those things that can burden us on our Lenten walk towards a closer relationship with God. Although we have hope and optimism for a profound experience, our preparedness can have a significant impact on our journey. A personal story illustrates the point.
Last week I visited Tucson, Arizona for a Catholic Writer's Retreat. Because of the usually warm environment of the Arizona desert, I packed short pants, lightweight clothing and absolutely no cold weather outfits. Ironically, Arizona was experiencing an abnormal amount of winter rain -even in the desert. The weather was a damp and cold. In short, I packed incorrectly-- I had the wrong clothing!
Not having the right "stuff" caused frequent interruptions, especially when I needed to take side trips to get missing items. I found myself wasting large amounts of time trying to right my situation. All of this pulled my attention away from a deeper experience of the retreat. The extra baggage caused unnecessary chaos, kept me from meeting other writers and was a generally a burden.
Extra Baggage on Your Lenten Journey
Are you carrying extra baggage on your Lenten Journey? Many of our past hurts can hold us back from allowing God to form our hearts and minds. You life's baggage can pull attention away from a deeper experience of Lent. Over time, the extra weight can slow our spiritual pace to a crawl. For some, their extra baggage is extremely heavy like relationship-breaking mortal sins. Others have baggage of the venial sins in their life such that their relationship with God injured but not severed. Issues like long held grudges, anger problems or dishonest behavior not only affect our relationship with family and friends but also with God. In short, the excess baggage of our personal sins makes our Lenten journey more difficult.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
If one of your goals for Lent is to deepen your relationship with Christ you may need to lighten your loads. How can you drop some of this baggage? How can you lighten the weight? I offer a four-part plan consisting of: Examination of Conscience, Confession of Sins, Absolution and Penance. Of course, I am describing the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This Sacrament is a remarkable gift renews our relationship with God and fills us with many graces. The Sacrament of Reconciliation gives us our smile back. In terms of the journey, it allows us to dump the extra "stuff" and actually has left me with a sense of lightness as my burdens were lifted.
Letting go our problems to God healing love often means we need to look inside ourselves to those areas where grace can replace sinfulness. I wholeheartedly suggest that you reconnect your relationship with God in Sacrament of Reconciliation during this Lenten season. To accommodate the penitential needs of the People of God, any parishes and communities have special Reconciliation Services-take advantage of this opportunity. You will love the results!
For your reflection:
From a Ministry Perspective:
From a Family Perspective
- What baggage do I carry that slows my ability to serve the Christian community?
- How can important is the Sacrament of Reconciliation in my relationship with God? What changes do I need to make this Lent that can have a lasting impact?
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for the nice comments about my first column. Your words were all flattering and inspiring. Thank you! As usual, I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas.
Please email me.
- Do we have hurts in our family that need healing? How can our family show forgiveness?
- What actions do we need to complete to improve our relationships within our family and with God?
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