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“Giving Up What Matters”
Melissa Englert
Monday, April 15, 2019

Each year for Lent, my family and I have a discussion as to what we will “give up” during the season and what we will work on within our character to become a better version of ourselves. I have learned something this year through a daily email I receive from Dynamic Catholic. Author Matthew Kelly, through his company Dynamic Catholic, sends out daily thought-provoking video messages, consisting of a two to three minute “lesson”. The most recent message that inspired me was about what we yearn for as individuals, and how as human beings, we are seemingly never satisfied. This is something I personally struggle with often. Hopefully I am not alone, but how many of us can say that we are completely satisfied in every aspect of our lives? The more I question why this is, the more questions versus answers I end up with. But the answer is actually very simple; True satisfaction is only found in a life lived with Jesus Christ.

John wrote: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). The late Reverend Billy Graham also wrote about worldly fascination: “God does not take the Christian out of the world, but He wants His followers to be kept from the love and infatuation of the world’s interests and desires, for these temporal things are going to perish.” As an adult, I know happiness through worldly items is only temporary, but at times I find it difficult to not indulge. I know I do not need another dinner out, a new sweater, or another vacation. These are temporarily enjoyable, but can become a habit if we rely on “stuff” to make us happy for any amount of time.

Whether it be during the Lenten season, or a regular review of our faith, it is important to evaluate what we spend our time on. Recently my husband and I joined the Alpha group, held at St. Paul’s Church. It is a program to deepen one's Christian faith. I love what I am learning and the influence it helps me to bring to my students and staff at Norwalk Catholic School. Our students at NCS spend the day learning curriculum, integrated with the religious values of our Catholic faith. Morning announcements, praying the Rosary after recess, religious retreats at every grade level, classes learning the Good Shepherd program in Atrium, or asking how we can serve our fellow man are some of the many ways we integrate our faith into all that we do. I strive daily to teach the children that what satisfies us now is temporary but that God is eternal. If we build within ourselves a strong faith-filled foundation, rooted in Christ, we will always have the gifts of hope, peace, charity, and love to sustain us. We cannot expect to solve spiritual issues with a worldly view. The same can be said that we cannot solve our desire to fill a void in ourselves, when the answer is not from the world but from a need for God in our lives. 

An example that glaringly showed me of a greater need for reflection and for Jesus’ presence in my life, was when a loved one passed away recently. It is within these moments that we tend to realize how fragile life can be. We understand how vital it is to have meaningful conversations, to let go of frivolous arguments, and to slow down the pace of life, re-evaluating what is truly important. During this Lenten season, try to give up more than just treats or technology. Give up the things that take away your joy, such as worrying, grievances, or anger. Work towards satisfaction in a relationship with Jesus versus a relationship with the world and it’s materials. May God bless you and I pray that peace will find you.