Daddy, Will The Monsters Get Me?
A television advertisement of recent vintage portrayed a scene of a father sitting at the bedside of his younger daughter who has just been tucked in for the night and the little girl, looking up at her dad, asking: "Daddy, will the monsters get me?" Lent is that liturgical season when we are concerned about the "monsters" all will be well. I believed that the television commercial was for an insurance company offering programs designed to protect families from some of the very real "monsters" of life. Thus, the drama of Lent bring us face to face with some frightening things within ourselves and a call to faith that leads to ultimate victory over time.
One aspect of the attractiveness of Lent is that it is a time of spiritual endeavor aimed at self-improvement. Our culture puts great stock in anything that leads us to the improvement of some property of ourselves. There is an abundance of literature, apparatus, and other consumer products fashioned to benefit us in some way. Being blessed with this plenitude of tools to remedy our mental, physical, and emotional concerns, we ought to be aware of the existence of protocols for spiritual well-being.
Lent provides a cornucopia of opportunities for spiritual growth. Are you willing to grid yourself for battle? Have you courage enough to meet your enemy on the field of honor? Excuse a bit of flippancy, but these questions are valid. In this age of nonchalant spirituality, one's sense of the impact of sin as well as the power of grace may be questioned. If you believed as did Socrates that: "The unexamined life is not worth living." Then you may enter the adventure of Lent with high hopes for growth. In order to advance in our spiritual life or, for that matter, in any part of our living, I believe that attention must be paid to the two R's: Recognition and resolution. The nineteenth century American lawyer, educator, and legislator Horace Mann spoke this opinion: "It is my custom every night, as soon as the candle is out, to run over the words and actions of the past day; and I let nothing escape me, for why should I fear the sight of my errors when I can admonish and forgive myself? I was a little too hot in such a dispute: my opinion might have been withheld, for it gave offense and did no good. The thing was true; but all truths are not to be spoken at all times.... I have done ill, but it shall be so no more. "being blind to our faults and sins leaves us as the emperor of fable who has no clothes. Despairingof God's love; its joys its sacrifices, its strengths, and its eternal truths. We must resolve to acknowledge, but not to accept our weaknesses. We must resolve to willfully grasp the hand of god and the power of his love in order to alleviate or even to overcome our frailties and to enhance our witness to Christ.
Parish programs, traditional practices, or our personally designed spiritual exercises may provide excellent avenues toward achieving our goals. These end need not be overly ambitious, but fruitful and rewarding. Our coming to God is a lifelong journey with progress often occurring in fits and starts. Keeping with our metaphor, we need to heed the presence of monsters within and without ourselves. People objects, environments, and other exterior factors tend to act as stimuli for good or ill. It would bode well for us to keep a watchful eye on the internal and external motivations involved in the creation our thoughts, words, and actions. If we were able to emerge from our Lenten efforts having grown stronger and wiser in our faith, the influence of our better angles will have increased and the "monsters" will not have gotten us.
copyright © 2000-2006, Spirituality for Today