Saturday, March 1, 2014

Lenten triple threat

Every young basketball player is taught the triple threat position—an offensive position in which you are prepared to do one of three things: pass, dribble/drive or shoot. It gives you and your team the best chance to score a basket.

I'm not sure if other sports use the same terminology, but the same principle applies for several team sports like hockey, soccer, lacrosse, etc. My soccer-playing son is learning he can no longer kick the ball and outrun everyone else to the other end and score. It's a lot easier to score when your team has the ball. And the best way to make that happen is to always be ready to dribble, pass or shoot, depending on the situation.

Lent is fast approaching, and it's time to think about or lenten triple threat: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

With the end goal of growing in holiness in mind (and ultimately Heaven), our lenten triple threat will help us get ready to celebrate the resurrection at Easter.

Prayer focuses our minds and hearts on God. It helps us realize we are part of a team (a.k.a. the communion of saints), and listening to our coach and supporting that team is how we can all grow in holiness, both indivudually and together.

Fasting helps us realize there are more important things (or a more important person) then our earthly possessions. A little sacrifice goes a long way in helping us understand the difference between wants and needs. We need sustenance. We want over-indulgance. We need God. We want a lot of other things, toys and electronic gadgets. Learning a little discipline, self-control and sacrifice (with the help of a little thing called grace) helps us appreciate the difference and put things in perspective.

Almsgiving helps us just as much as it helps other. We realize our interdependence as a community—we rely on God, others rely on us and we rely on others. We all must play our part responsibly in our interconnected web if we are to achieve our goal of holiness.

One great thing that makes our lenten triple threat better than any sports triple threat is the fact we aren't limited to one option at any given time. We can, and should, practice all three together.

What spiritual practices are part of your lenten triple threat this year?

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