One of my friends told me he and his wife love to watch the cable fashion show What Not to Wear – so I checked it out. For me the show takes too long to make it’s point but it does do a good job educating people about fashion. What does the show What Not to Wear have to do with Lent? Have I really lost it this time? Not really, take a look and see. First make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s start with a quick overview of what What Not to Wear is about.
What Not to Wear is a show on The Learning Channel featuring Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. The show is an ambush-style reality program where fashion victims are critiqued on their current clothing choices, and then coached on buying an entire new wardrobe, all for the entertainment of the viewing audience.
The approach taken by What Not to Wear actually helps both its victims and the audience make smarter fashion choices and often with the benefit of improving their self esteem. The show is a sort of educational program and I believe a method that when applied to Lent helps us grow in our faith. We may be able to truly look at what we are projecting by the attitudes we are “wearing” during the 40+ days of Lent and by eliminating some of the things in our spiritual closet help us to have a holy Lent.
Here are 5 Things We Want to Avoid Wearing During Lent:
1.) Over Inflated Pride
Pride is an excessive esteem of oneself. It is excessive because it is contrary to the truth. Pride may be expressed in different ways: by taking personal credit for gifts or possessions, as if they had not been received from God or by glorying in achievements, as if they were not primarily the result of divine goodness and grace. Pride is holding oneself superior to others or disdaining them because they lack what the proud person has. Pride strives for mean excellence. It despises others and, depending on its perversity, even looks down upon God.
If you struggle with pride the remedies for pride are a sincere knowledge of oneself, the acceptance of daily humiliations, avoidance of even the least self-complacency, humble acknowledgement of ones’ faults, and a prayerful communion with God.
2.) Comfortable Covering of Sin
Sin is “A word, deed or desire in opposition to the eternal law” (St. Augustine). Sin is a deliberate transgression of a law of God, which identifies the four essentials of every sin. A law is involved, God is offended, there is a transgression or disobedience since Catholicism holds that grace is resistible and the divine will can be disobeyed and the transgression is deliberate, which means that a sin is committed whenever a person knows that something is contrary to the law of God and then freely does the action anyway.
If you are struggling with sin (we all do) make sure that you go to Reconciliation weekly during Lent. The key is to not grow comfortable with sin and to strive each day to not repeat the sin!
3.) Handcuffs of Hatred
Hatred is a voluntary act by which someone or something is regarded with bitter dislike. Personal hatred of someone is the direct opposite of the virtue of love. While love inspires a person to wish well to another, hatred arouses the desire to do harm or have harm befall the one hated, not as a source of possible good, but precisely as evil.
A remedy for hatred is to bring the person you are having the hardest time with to the Altar at Mass as you approach for communion (not physically) but spiritually offer them to the Lord and ask Him to help you love them.
4.) Coat of Many Conflicts -
Conflict is to be incompatible, in opposition, or in disagreement. Conflict is the opposite of peace. The root of the conflict may be between simply between one’s own will and the will of God. To avoid this type of conflict – stop fighting God and be obedient to what He is asking you to do. You may just find out as I have that He really does have a plan for you and His plan is much better than any you could dream up.
5.) Joyless Expression
To be Joyless means we are unhappy, sad, miserable, gloomy, dismal, dreary, dejected, dispirited or downcast. While Lent is a time that we normally make sacrifices by giving something up, it does not mean we are to wear a frown for 40 days. We are called to be a light, even during Lent. If you are growing in your faith during Lent – show it by radiating some Joy!
So with all of the things we shouldn’t wear, what are we to wear?
According to our ultimate Catholic Coach – Pope Benedict XVI we are to put on 1. Prayer 2. Almsgiving 3. Fasting
Pope Benedict gives us this message for Lent 2010 -
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
At the beginning of Lent, which constitutes an itinerary of more intense spiritual training, the Liturgy sets before us again three penitential practices that are very dear to the biblical and Christian tradition – prayer, almsgiving, fasting – to prepare us to better celebrate Easter and thus experience God’s power that, as we shall hear in the Paschal Vigil, “dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride”
So what are the current items in your spiritual closet that need to go in order for you to grow in our holiness this Lent? May you have the courage to make the changes that God is asking you to make this year!