Over the last week, we've established what the focuses of Lent are (praying, fasting, and giving), but the mindfulness aspect of this particular Lenten journey still needs to be addressed. Mindfulness is all about intention and intentional. It means that when we pray, we aren't just praying "because", we are paying because we ant to. When we give, we are giving from a place that wants to, and when we fast, we are fasting from something that will really impact our day and test our resolve.
Today's Gospel reading takes place during the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus introduced the Beatitudes to his Disciples. This is when Jesus essentially began to "raise the bar" for His followers. It wasn't enough for them to be good practitioners of their Jewish faith, like the scribes and Pharisees, they were being called to an even higher standard.
Lent is the time for us to really ask what that "higher standard" is for us today. It is a time for self-reflection, similar to Jesus' time in the desert before He would begin His ministry. Just as He prepared to be the leader we needed Him to be, we should prepare to be the followers He calls us to be. Jesus is inviting us to do more than just be rule followers, but to expand those practices and act with true, loving intentions. The Commandments tell us not to kill, but He asks to take it further; not to harm our fellows, body or spirit. Intentionally treat others with love.
When we pray this next week, pray with one intention in mind each time. Really commit to that one prayer. Last week, we gave out attention and focus to someone important in our lives. This week, let's give a talent to our community; mindfully using the gifts we are given to support our larger community. Finally, as we abstain from meat today and whatever else throughout the week, reflect on how Jesus fasted for forty days. We fast from meat so that we are mindful of our body's physical demands and overcoming them, because we are more than just physical beings.
Pray intentionally. Give mindfully. Fast purposefully.
Unsure about the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes? You can review them here or go into depth on each of them by clicking the "Beatitude" category to your right!