Today’s Lent Devotional for Women reflection comes from a reading in my favorite Lenten Devotional book, Reflections on the Passion. It begins with talking about Peter’s conversion after his tragic betrayal of our Lord.
You know the old saying, “There but for the grace of God go I,” well, if you don’t you need to because any one of us could betray our Lord at any minute. There are a couple of things we can do to help protect ourselves and minimize the risk, but don’t be fooled into thinking “you would never…” Let’s get this Lent Devotional for Women started.
The first point the author makes is Peter’s proximity to the occasion of sin. He was hanging around with unbelievers and some of those unbelievers were even anti-Christ-ians and would later stand in the crowd shouting, “Crucify Him!” Or at the very least, do nothing. Peter’s conversion began once he went off by himself; when he separated himself from the other apostles, the other believers. “There can never be any true and lasting conversion until, and unless, we are determined to avoid the occasions of sin–that is, any person, place, or thing that may cause us to fall.”
Let’s consider persons, places or things that may cause us to fall in light of our Lenten resolution to love more. What about someone who resents their husband and children? Spending time with them while they’re on a rant, will affect us; please, don’t think it won’t.
Remember the other day where I said if you hang out in a smoky room, you’ll come out of there smelling like smoke? After some time in the presence of a resentful, unsatisfied, discontent women–we will start to take on those characteristics in our own family. Our children will seem extra bothersome, our husband extra annoying, and we will nit-pick everything from the house we live, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the way we celebrate holidays, the food we eat…I mean nothing will be safe from our discontent!
This example is specifically for Catholics. Think about the time we may spend in the presence of Traditional Catholics–which by the way, I affiliate myself with so I’m not bashing because, “Been there, done that, was one of these people I’m speaking of.” There are some Traditional Catholics who have a laser focus on all that is wrong in the Church since Vatican II.
Granted, there are many problems and abuses that came out of Vatican II, but Lord, help us, we can’t tackle them all and we can’t spend all our time researching them and refuting them. If we do, what time does that leave to grow in closer friendship with our Lord? What time does that leave for evangelization? What time does that leave for a joy-filled faith and intimate communion with God when we are constantly on the ready to seek, find, and argue over the abuses?
The author next points out Peter’s repentance was immediate. The longer Peter put off his conversion and repentance the greater the sin and the farther he could have fallen. There comes a certain point that varies for all of us when the road back just seems so far away…too far away.
We easily reason, we’re not that bad, we’ll eventually start the long walk home, God is merciful and will give us all the time we need to make it back, etc. Do not delay! Our Lord specifically said we know not the hour.
Distancing ourselves and severing ourselves from the occasion of sin must be immediate and definitive. Think of the parable of the evil spirit that was cast out and looking for a place of rest, returned to its former place only to find it “…unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
Again, spend some time in prayer with those meditations as well as the ones I linked to in this post. Ask God the questions you are wrestling with concerning the near occasions of sin your life; the friends you spend time with, the places you go, any influence you allow into your life, run it by God in prayer. But be ready for the answers and do not harden your heart to His voice.
More Lent Devotional for Women posts.