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While listening to a podcast a few days ago, I was struck by a reference I heard. The host stated that Forty actually stood for a period of testing – like during the 40 days of Lent…
Actually, its full meaning is a period of testing, a trial or probation.
Could it be that the forty days of LENT could be just that? – A time for testing and trial?
And if so, what kind of testing or trial, and what could that mean for you and me personally?
Forty is mentioned 157 times in scripture. Moses and the Israelites traveled through the desert for 40 years. They were definitely being tested, tried, and going through a probational period – (meaning they were to go through a period of time where they were to demonstrate their good behavior and obedience under supervision before they entered into their reward).
Jesus was also driven into the desert for 40 days by the Holy Spirit directly after his baptism.
These 40 days consisted of fasting, prayer, and temptation put forth by Satan himself.
Jesus’ experience is the light or lens in which I prefer to see the 40 days of Lent through.
I believe this is a time offered specifically and lovingly to each one of us.
A chance to intentionally journey through a ‘Lenten desert’ in a very real & spiritual sense. A time to truly fast, pray, and realize the little temptations or weaknesses we have for what they really are – opportunities to see exactly where we need to more fully turn, participate with, and rely on God.
It a time to realize what we are here in these 40 days for. To test our faith. And find out what we should be doing in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Where do our responsibilities lie?
How Fasting Can Magnify Your Weakness
This Lent, I felt that the Lord was asking me to ‘fast’ from drinking coffee.
Now, I love my coffee! I drink a lot of black coffee and I couldn’t imagine going just a day without it. 40 days was really going to be painful and a struggle. But, I knew it was what Jesus was asking of me.
It is a sacrifice for sure. And it is always on my mind. It definitely makes it easy to focus & remember the idea of test and trial. It very quietly has led me to prayer.
This type of fast is one that I definitely can tangibly feel every moment that I am awake. ( Especially when I am brewing my husband’s morning coffee 😉)
We are just a week in since Ash Wednesday and I can truly say that I definitely feel the effects of my ‘empty coffee cup‘.
The ‘testing’ has definitely begun…
My Children have even begged me to please have a cup of coffee – for their sake…the parts of my behavior that need brushing up on are definitely coming to a clearer light. All because of not drinking coffee.
This is a gift of true grace. God is gently revealing to me where I need to adjust my behavior and thinking…all through the absence of that hot, dark, delicious beverage – something I could have sworn I needed every day.
Our fast offered as a part of our Lent journey for testing and to check the ‘quality’, ‘depth’, or ‘reliability’ of our Christian character and strength in this life is such a grace.
We can discover where we need to sharpen our tools of prayer, fasting, and evangelization before we put them to better use as weapons for our days and life ahead.
We also quickly learn those virtues that need serious cultivating…
Prayer Is Necessary
Along with fasting throughout the 40 days of Lent, prayer is another opportunity to grow in and test our spirit and awareness of the gift and responsibility of our baptism.
Baptism is where our whole spiritual walk began. It is the very moment we were welcomed into the family of God. Baptized as Priest, prophet, and king – we definitely have an active, not passive, mission in this life.
It has given us the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit; ccc paragraph 1266
What a perfect time to really come to realize and embrace our calling for what it truly is.
We Were Baptized
This power of knowing the prompting of the Holy Spirit makes living out our testing, learning, and our call possible. We even have some guidance.
– We are baptized as Kingdom or common Priests. (Not Ministerial Priests who are ordained clergy) As such, we are called to offer our sacrifices (i.e. fasting, etc.), our gifts (family, our specific talents, possessions, etc.), and our very selves – heart, body, and soul. We do this in union with our Priest as he offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in prayer every day.
– baptized, we are sent as prophets. A prophet shares the holy word of God. Who God is, what He has done for you, his promises, and how he is present and working right now in our lives – and in the lives and world around us.
This can only be accomplished by a person who knows God and His word. Knowledge of both can easily come by daily reading Sacred Scripture – the Bible. The more you read the Bible the more you come to really know God, and the more you can share who he is and what His Word says.
(The Bible in a Year Podcast is a great tool for this) – I have been following this podcast since Jan. 1st, 2021. I highly recommend it!
Sharing what you have learned, observed, and experienced as you take in the Word of God is prophesying. By sharing with others your knowledge of God and Scripture – you are being a prophet. You are speaking the Word of God.
– What does a king do? A king leads others. When I think of a king, I don’t picture someone sitting on a throne waiting to be worshiped, waited on, and adored.
I remember our ancestor, King David. Definitely, he was not perfect. A sinner like us and he offered his kingship and life to God. To be used as God willed. He also led his kingdom to follow the God of Abraham.
He didn’t wait around for someone else to do what he was called to do. In the same way, we should not ignore, or neglect, the mission we are all called to carry out.
Using These 40 Days Of Lent For Redirection
Think about it. We are now in a time of testing and trial. All of us have a chance to embrace fully this season in our Church, learn and implement our knowledge.
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We are now within the 40 days of Lent. As baptized individuals, we are already called according to his purpose. These next weeks can lead us to a clearer vision of what our life should look like from here and beyond.
Knowing that if we are living faithfully in our vocation, and living fully the ‘call‘ we have been gifted, then all things will work together for good.
It isn’t by chance we are here in Lent.
Remember God is outside of time and knows all. We are in this season right now, today, for a specific opportunity. He has ordained it for our good already.
Our response to these next weeks of Lent can literally change our life, our church, our communities, and even our whole world.
Our world seems crazy right now. Things feel uncertain. But, we have a promise and call. And the chance to be ‘tested‘ into holiness.
We are all children of God, baptized as Priests, Prophets, and Kings. And already called according to his purpose.
Pick up your bible, fast, pray, and ask God to reveal to you the deep reality of your call and how you can more fully live it out. Use this opportunity to fully embrace the test and trial of Lent.
Take these 40 Days of Lent seriously to heart!
Realize your role in this world and who and what you are.
Do this for you, your family, your church, your community, and the whole world. Don’t just surrender your calling to the uncertain circumstances of today. Become who you were baptized to be.
I never would have imagined that the deeper realization of my call would come through giving up coffee…
So, for the next 38 days, my tagline will be life begins with prayer & water 😊
Please make sure to leave your thoughts below. I love hearing from my readers!!
A Catholic mom of 10 & a Deacon’s wife.
A Christian who lives an intermittent fasting lifestyle, my days faithfully begin with prayer & black coffee.
I want to encourage women to realize their life’s purpose, share their faith, embrace God’s Word, grow in confidence, and commit daily to reclaiming overall health while living a life dedicated to their vocation.