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A Prayer of Surrender

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Every day, I begin my day in prayer. The routine is very simple but well-rehearsed. It is the same prayer I have had for the last seven years. As part of my routine, I pray that I be the vessel by which the Lord fulfills His work. It is a prayer of surrender. I have lived my life in surrender to Jesus Christ since I was sixteen years old. When I get
that "feeling" it usually falls in line with a moment of change, a moment of conversion at the climax of surrender. We are meant to go through multiple conversions throughout a lifetime as we grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus by surrendering to His will. I recently had one of those moments that moved me deeper into conversion, resulting once again into surrendering. It is then that I started having that "feeling". I am now left waiting to see what the "feeling" is going to bring.

Many saints write about conversion and surrender as a pathway to holiness. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta would say, "We have to love until it hurts. It is not enough to say I love. We must put that love into a living action. And how do we do that? By giving until it hurts". This loving until it hurts is conversion. It is surrender because it is counter-cultural. St. Faustina brought us the depiction of surrender through the image of the Divine Mercy and the simple yet powerful prayer "Jesus, I trust in you!" Releasing oneself to the will of the Father is liberating yet terrifying.

Stations of the Cross

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The  Catholic Church has so many rich symbols that deepen our prayer life such as a the crucifix, the crown of thorns, and the color purple, which call us to conversion and reconciliation during the liturgical season of Lent.

One of the forms of prayer common during Lent is the Stations of the Cross. The object of the Stations is to help Christians make a pilgrimage through the contemplation of the Passion of Christ. It was in the 15th and 16th centuries that the Franciscans were granted permission by the Holy Father to erect Stations in their churches. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land deepen that practice. Walking and praying on the holy ground where our Lord walked, helps the pilgrim to draw very close to our Lord, and his passion, suffering, and death. 

Praying with one another and for one another also lifts us up, helps us to carry our personal crosses, and unites us all the more with the faithful who are also carrying burdens in life. Do you have a favorite station? I am often drawn to the 5th Station--Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the heavy cross. I am reminded of the people in my life who bless me with their prayers, friendship, and love.

Think about each Station. Which one speaks most personally to you? The Stations remind us of the great love Christ had for us to willingly suffer and die for each of us.

Fasting and Prayer

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When reading Scripture, we often hear about how people are fasting. Fasting is usually combined with prayer. Jesus even fasted for 40 days in the desert. It was in those 40 days that Jesus was discerning his plan for changing the world. It was in those 40 days that the devil tempted him. It is in the 40 days of Lent that we strive to be like Jesus and shut down temptation and depend on the providence of God. 

When we fast, we should be drawn to prayer. For myself, fasting pushes me to think about those less fortunate. I think about how easy it would be for me to break the fast, but it isn't easy for them. I start to offer up this tiny sacrifice in solidarity with those who truly suffer. My suffering will pass while their suffering won't or can't. My suffering in experiencing temporary hunger is minuscule to the suffering Christ did for me. It humbles me.

That is what Lent reminds us to be - humble. In prayer and supplication, we find Jesus.

Posted by Jill Fischer

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