GIVE UP grumbling. Instead, “In everything give thanks.”
GIVE UP 10 to 15 minutes in bed. Instead, use that time in prayer and Bible reading.
GIVE UP looking at other people’s worst points. Instead, concentrate on their best ones.
GIVE UP speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding.
GIVE UP your worries. Instead, trust God with them.
GIVE UP hatred or dislike of anyone. Instead, learn to love.
GIVE UP the fear which prevents Christian witness. Instead, seek courage to speak of your faith to others.
GIVE UP television one evening a week. Instead, visit some lonely or sick person.
GIVE UP judging by appearances and by the standards of the world. Instead, learn to give up yourself to God.
I got this poem before Ash Wednesday attending my daughter’s middle school Faith Formation class. She volunteered me with a big prod as the last of the nine who were to face the crowd not knowing what we were doing. And for the sake of my daughter’s request, I went hesitantly, driven to avoid any move that would embarrass her.
Each volunteer, student and parent alike, were given a line to recite. Mine was the last as I was the last in line. We had some time to reflect and pray after the poem. After the gathering, my daughter looked at me and said, “You did good, mom… You did good,” smiling and nodding with warm approval. I did not expect that, but it was a relief – I was glad it went well.
As we are in the midst of Lent, I remind myself of what I am giving up. Our family of five gave up ice cream. It’s been tough because my kids want an ice cream treat every so often. Such is the feeling in the face of sacrifice, but they’re managing.
Personally, I gave up grumbling. Grumbling about one of my biggest pet peeves of picking up my husband’s dirty socks, laundry and personal belongings that rampantly scatter around the house. It’s been an annoyance for years since he can’t kick the habit. Truthfully, it’s a challenge to keep up. But after reading St. Therese’s autobiography, she taught me to turn sacrifices into flowers as offerings to Jesus: “We must offer Jesus the flowers of little sacrifices and win Him by a caress. That is how I have won Him, and that is why I shall be made so welcome.”
Most recently, I finally faced the fear of dreadful dirty socks and found the joy of picking them up as though they are fragrant flowers for God.
May we all find our flower offerings and give thanks for the opportunity to offer them!