Sacrifice and the Empty Cup

The Lenten Season is a difficult part of the Liturgical year. You are forced to take a look at how you conduct yourself in everyday life and attempt to be better. Sacrifice, penance, prayer and alms-givings are all useful tools in accomplishing this goal. However, what are you suppose to do when you are giving all you have already? What else is there to give up if your cup is empty?

I am sure you have heard the saying “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” I will be the first to admit that my cup runs empty quite often. I am a mom with two beautiful and slightly crazy children, I am a wife to an amazing man and I work outside the home. All of us have an enormous amount of responsibility as parents and I think it is time for us to accept that when our cup is empty that we are doing no good for anyone, especially ourselves, by tipping that cup upside down and shaking it vigorously because it won’t change that the cup is empty.

You cannot pour from an empty cup!

I have come to the hard realization that my cup is empty and it is only the second week in Lent. At first I was distraught and frantic. I haven’t started a devotion. I haven’t completed a full Stations of the Cross with my children. I tried and failed MISERABLY at sacrificing coffee for Lent. Our alms-giving basket still isn’t out yet.

Then it hit me.

God created us to sacrifice ourselves. We were made to give the best of us to the world to make it better. He does not want me to drive myself insane with the concept of “the perfect Lenten season” and miss what is truly important… that is a strong relationship with Him. If we are sacrificing our relationship with God, then how are we fulfilling his desires for us?

There is no “perfect” way to participate in the Lenten Season. Do not allow the misconception of what you think Lent should be, hinder your spiritual journey. Take the time today to take a few deep breaths. Refocus on what the Lenten season is all about. Find what you need to refill your cup so you are full enough to pour back into your families, friends and then ultimately, into the world. I challenge you to sacrifice 5 minutes of your time to find your true path this Lenten season. Sometimes we allow our own desires to cloud our perceptions and it can be easy to get lost during our Lenten journey.

I have decided that I will no longer criticize myself for my Lenten plans not being how I envisioned. This harsh view of myself is cracking my cup and allowing it dry. I will accept that I have responsibilities and I will carry them with a smile on my face and a prayer in my heart. That is the biggest Sacrifice I can give to God this Lenten Season; to push away the self-doubt and disappointment and offer it up to Him. He knows my true intentions and my hearts desires.

He is understanding.

He is merciful.

He is Our Lord and Savior.

I leave you with this Lenten prayer for Spiritual Renewal in hopes that if you have found yourself in a similar situation this Lenten Season, that you can find what you need to refill your cup until it overflows.

God, heavenly Father, look upon me and hear my prayer during this holy Season of Lent.

By the good works You inspire, help me to discipline my body and to be renewed in spirit.

Without You I can do nothing.

By Your Spirit help me to know what is right and to be eager in doing Your will.

Teach me to find new life through penance.

Keep me from sin, and help me live by Your commandment of love.

God of love, bring me back to You. Send Your Spirit to make me strong in faith and active in good works. May my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness, open my heart to Your love, and prepare me for the coming feast of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of life and make me one with You in love and prayer.

Fill my heart with Your love and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ. Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.

Father, our source of life, I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand; let me walk more readily in Your ways. Guide me in Your gentle mercy, for left to myself I cannot do Your Will.

Father of love, source of all blessings, help me to pass from my old life of sin to the new life of grace. Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

Amen

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