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Lent Challenge Week Four: Emotions

Lent Challenge Week Four: Emotions

 
By:  Nicholas Breidigam March 23, 2022
#AmazingNation, #Hard as Nails, #How-To, #Suffering, #Winning

During this fourth week of Lent, let's focus on our emotions.  

Emotions help us to develop in very complex ways throughout our life. Sometimes, emotions trigger vicious cycles, so we try to subdue our emotional responses. Doing so would shut down any emotional response which isn't always good. You wouldn't reduce the feeling of happiness, would you? 

The challenge this week is to connect with someone and share three things. 1.) What has been a challenge or struggle for you recently? 2.) What or who are you grateful for in your life? 3.) What do you personally need prayers for to strengthen and grow in faith, hope, and love?

At Hard as Nails Ministries, this is called Passion formation. There is a Zoom call on Fridays where you can join others in sharing these three things. I encourage you to join the call if you can!

It is a small and short spiritual exercise. 

Expressing yourself can be a challenge. But in Passion Formation, no one will judge you. You can be as vague or specific as you want with this. God knows what is challenging in your life. 

First, pray, to bring the Triune God more present into the conversation. God knows what is in your heart, and He desires that no one suffer alone. 

As you enter into the first question, remember to listen. It is not your time to speak. Hear what their struggle is. Be there for them, as our Lord was for us on the cross. St. Louis de Montfort wrote a letter to the Friends of the Cross, specifically on suffering, "You are the members of Christ, a wonderful honor indeed, but one which entails suffering." Encourage each other in your way in dealing with suffering. Suffering is part of our cross.

Next, you ask about gratitude. What are you grateful for? Every day you wake up. That is one. You have food to eat. Two. You have a God and people who love and care about you. Three. You can also have gratitude for your cross/struggle. As the same Letter from St. Louis says, "So rejoice and be glad when God favors you with one of his choicest crosses; for without realizing it, you are blessed with the greatest gift of heaven, the greatest gift of God." Realize there are other crosses He could give you and He would never give you anything that He knows you would not be able to handle. To do that we need humility to embrace gratitude in our lives.

Finally, you talk about what you need prayers for in your life. It can be anything. Pray for patience. That is one I often find myself praying for. Be assured of that person's prayers for you. Do not concern yourself with being judged, that is the enemy's last-ditch effort to stop you from being humble. 

Then read scripture or the upcoming Sunday gospel together and talk about what it speaks to you. This passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 3:1-13 would be a good one to read: 

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming [upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.]

But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do."

God loves you regardless of how you feel or what emotions are going on in your life. He made you. He doesn't make mistakes. The devil loves to isolate you from others, don't let him. Make it a point to use this challenge of sharing with others and making a connection, to grow in your faith in God this Lent. Use Passion formation as your guide. If you feel inclined to join us on a Friday night call, we all look forward to being there for you.


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