“Only to the extent that someone is living out this self transcendence of human existence is he truly human or does he become his true self. He becomes so, not by concerning himself with his self's actualization, but by forgetting himself and giving himself, overlooking himself and focusing outward.” - Viktor Frankl (Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist. 1905-1997)
(Gospel - Lk 9:22-25)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to all,“If anyone wishes to come after me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”
Here on the second day of Lent, many of us might be thinking of what we might “give up” for Lent. If we began this practice as children, we might remember giving up chocolate, television or desserts. But as we grow older, we might be looking for something with more meaning to it. This Lent might be a time to “give up” something that will make us different persons 40 days from now.
For some, it might be giving up gossip. Each morning in Lent – and many times during the day - we can pray to God to give us the grace to refrain from repeating stories about other people. How about negative comments or sarcasm? Can I pray for the grace to stop myself from saying something negative?
Or what about my spouse? Have I gotten lazy in the relationship? I could beg Jesus each morning to help me to do something kind for my spouse that day – something tiny like making him coffee, putting a note in her briefcase, an unexpected hug and kiss.
For the people in all of our lives who drive us crazy: could we give up fretting about them all the time? Could we say a small prayer each day for the person who makes us crazy?
Doing any one of these things faithfully and faith-fully for six weeks will change our lives and the lives of others around us. It is part of what God is inviting us to this Lent: a chance to make myself a better person and a chance to connect each day with God.
Jesus asks today, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” For the next six weeks of this Lenten season, we can truly find ourselves by giving up our own needs and desires and focusing on the lives of others.