Hi everyone! We have a Guest Blogger pinch hitting for me today, please welcome Laurelin Ontai. Laurelin is a cradle Catholic and is currently a junior at UT majoring in advertising with a minor in business. She is social media obsessed and a lover of corgis. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, but is always striving to become the best version of herself.
So right now you’re probably thinking, “Aww great. Yet another post about Lent? Aren’t we done with that life?” Well yes, for this liturgical year we are, but I just wanted to reflect on what I learned this Lent.
So I have a confession to make, I have a great love/hate relationship with Lent. I mean, I love how fasting grows us closer to God and, of course, I love how fasting makes us long for Jesus to come back to us again at Easter.
But, I HATE FASTING.
Like, really. I secretly dread Lent every year; but at every Easter Vigil, God hits in the face as to why Lent is necessary to grow in our Catholic faith. God, who has infinite knowledge of all things, who created this whole universe from nothing, for some unknown reason loves us. In fact, He loves us so much that He sent His only son down from Heaven to become a servant of man, to whom He owes absolutely nothing, only to be brutally murdered on a cross so that we could one day be with Him again. God’s heart longs for us to be with Him eternally, and the only way we can do that is through letting go of the temporary pleasures the devil offers us. By rejecting Satan we accept God. By accepting God, we repay just a little tiny itty bitty bit of the debt we owe Him. The beautiful thing is, that’s all He wants from us.
So this Lent, some of the things I gave up were caffeine and makeup. Call me melodramatic, but by the end of this Lenten season, I felt like I was literally dragging myself on my belly towards the finish line.
The thing is, I am a coffee lover to the extreme. When I wake up in the morning, I only roll out of bed so I can enjoy that first cup of Joe. So when I gave up caffeine, the results were not pretty to say the least. I actually had two exams the day after Ash Wednesday (thanks,secular public schooling), so I found myself lying on my bed the night before with a terrible headache asking God, “Why me, God? WHY??”
But what I was sad to discover from my caffeine fast is that I depend way more on something as fleeting as a caffeine fix rather than the almighty, all-powerful God. I realized this one of the first Sunday mornings of Lent when I woke up and the first thought in my mind was, “TIME TO BREAK FAST COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE!”. But then it hit me; Sunday is the Lord’s day, not the coffee pot’s day. My coffee pot didn’t die for my sins, so why do I treat it like it did? I got out of bed for some coffee rather than getting out of bed to serve a God who loves me so much that He would send His only son to die on a cross for me, and on the day that we celebrate Christ’s sacrifice for us, no less.
To the confessional, self.
Another thing I gave up for Lent was makeup. Now, I’m kind of a makeup addict. I secretly love watching YouTube videos about tips on how to make transform yourself with makeup.
I thought giving up makeup would be a piece of cake since college students don’t really wear makeup anyways. But I found that it was much harder than I thought it would be. I was forced to face my insecurities, and trust me I have a lot of ‘em. I wasn’t able to hide behind lipstick and mascara, anymore. And the beautiful thing is, people don’t care. In the end, my friends and family still love me. Most importantly, God still loves me. What I realized was that this world can’t make me beautiful. Nice clothes, flawless makeup, perfect hair, these things all fade. But true beauty doesn’t die with time, it grows. The only thing that is eternal is God’s Love. The world says that what makes me beautiful are these material things, but the world is wrong. What makes me beautiful is that I am a child of God. I am beautiful because I am made in His image.
The thing I learned about Lent is, when we die to ourselves, God can truly change us into who we are meant to be. I mean, look at the crucifixion. Jesus died to become king in Heaven. When we give everything up for God, when we have absolutely nothing left to hold on to, it’s then that we are able to receive God’s blessings. It’s when we aren’t distracted by our own pride, power and possessions that we are able to clearly see God’s plan for us.
Sounds cool and all, but the hardest part is getting there. I’ll warn you, it’s gonna suck. It’s no walk in the park. But as St. Therese of Lisseux said, “It’s better to have a little pain on Earth and a big crown in Heaven than it is to have no pain on Earth and a normal crown.”