It’s 6:00 a.m. on a Monday morning your alarm has just went off. You look outside your window to the fresh blanket of snow we received overnight and laugh at how long your commute is going to be.
You then remember you need to shower, but it’s Lent and you’re fasting from hot showers. You get in anyway and your day begins.
Lent. It’s a time of journeying through the desert with Jesus for 40 days through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It’s not easy or short, but it’s a time designated for reflection on the passion and resurrection. The Church is given an opportunity to mediate on our own life and death and ways we need to die in order to rise with Christ.
It’s a time of great grace and for the first time in my life I have come to see the benefits of fasting. Cold showers, they were hard, but they were the best thing I have ever done.
Everyday I was faced with the opportunity to deviate from my predetermined fast of 40 days. I was constantly told just ‘turn it a little warmer, you’re not hurting anyone and besides this is too cold anyway’. Everyday I was also given the opportunity to shoot that temptation down and say ‘no’.
Surely I could have turned it a little warmer and it wouldn’t have hurt anyone, but saying no to that only makes me stronger in other circumstances. When faced with other temptations into the occasion of sin, I can now more easily say no.
Offering it up
By about the 20 day mark, this cold shower thing was really getting tough. Your body doesn’t really get use to it and everyday is just as bad as the last.
Then I realized something.
I can literally offer up this struggle that I am facing right now for someone. I had the opportunity in that cold shower to pray for someone, for a specific intention.
I did that. I prayed for the dead, for conversions of heart and for the increase of my own faith.
I shed my comfort in order to plead with Christ and recognize my own need. My own weaknesses and my need for His love. He would get me through this cold shower and He would answer all my prayers in His perfect will.
Convenient, ironic, or funny, whatever you want to call it, during Lent I was also making a Consecration to Divine Mercy. I was diving deeper into Christ’s own suffering and His great ocean of mercy for me and for the whole world.
If anything, these cold showers gave me an opportunity to partake in a small and insignificant way the suffering of Christ.
Entering into his suffering, I also entered into His mercy. To trust in His love and His great desire for my soul and the souls of the whole world. To trust that His love is not full of retribution, but full of mercy.
We have so much. Some people shower everyday in cold showers and go without food for days on end, so my fasting really is insignificant.
I realized how much I have. I have so much that I take it for granted. This Lent I rediscovered the advantages I live with and how I should be thanking God for the little things in my life as well as the abundant graces He pours out upon me.
I now rejoice because fasting from hot showers has taught me more about my God and about His love for me than any other fasting I’ve done. It brought me closer to my Father to know the depths of His mercy.