By Katie Fraser
Welcome to the Desert, Friends! I am so honored to share my reflections with you on this First Sunday of Lent. You may call me crazy, but I really enjoy the Lenten season.
I would have to say though, my least favorite part is figuring out what I should be fasting from for the next month and ten days.
A few weeks before Lent begins, I usually try to evaluate what in my life I am spending too much time with. In the past I have fasted from things such as Netflix, Facebook, swearing, complaining, and last year I even went vegan for forty days (no meat, no dairy and no eggs). I wanted this Lent to be different. I feel like God is constantly calling me to a higher standard of living, and this journey should be no different. Many years ago I heard a homily from my parish priest about how Lent isn’t just a time to give something up for a matter of days and then overindulge on it once Easter comes. He mentioned that we should be giving something up that makes us a better version of ourselves long term, and using that time of sacrifice to fill it with virtue. That year I gave up Facebook, and every time I was tempted to check what my friends were up to I replaced that time with prayer. It was incredible time of relationship and love shared with Christ since I wasn’t constantly glued to my phone or computer.
In discerning what God is calling me to this Lenten season, I just keep coming back to my vocation.
It seems to be the number one topic among people my age. Who is dating who? Are they going to get engaged? When are they getting married? Will they have kids? All these questions and more float around me wherever I go. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for my friends who are entering into the beautiful sacrament of Marriage. I couldn’t be more overjoyed that there are so many people out there recognizing the sanctity and beauty of this in a time when most people assume my generation has no recognition of what is good, holy, true and pure.
But back to the point, I want this Lent to be different.
In a time of my life when it is incredibly hard to be single, I am going to fast from dating. For forty whole days. At first I thought, well that shouldn’t be hard, it’s not like I am constantly going out on dates. But the amount of times I am being asked out isn’t the important part – what the point of this fast will be for me is to grow in relationship with Christ, as I become more intentional about my relationship with Him I am hoping my discernment of vocation will become more clear. The hope is to spend this time not just fasting from the fun of going out with nice young men, but to sacrifice from the daydreaming, to sacrifice the attention I would receive, with the replacement of adoring and honoring Christ in my every action.
One of my secret resolutions this year is to prepare for marriage with my future spouse.
I am still trying to figure out exactly what vocation I am called, but God has placed a strong desire in my heart for marriage so I better start working on that now. I want to be ready when I meet the right person someday, and for now that means working on myself and healing from my past, all while reminding myself that my happiness and joy can only be fulfilled by the love I receive from my Heavenly Father. It means embracing my current vocation of being single, and living my life the way God intends.
Today’s Gospel is one of my favorites. It paints such incredible imagery to what Christ sacrificed for us.
He was both fully human, and fully divine. He could have done absolutely anything he wanted, he could’ve had anything he ever wanted. Christ enters into this desert and he fasts for forty whole days. This isn’t some fast from something in his life that isn’t bringing him to holiness, it’s a true fast from the things that would keep a human alive. A sacrifice that truly does bring him to his knees. He is then so strongly tempted to be given the world, to be the greatest of all time, to end the suffering of this fast at the snap of a finger, but instead he chooses the suffering over and over again. But why? He’s fully divine. He can have and do anything he wants. But Christ doesn’t want just anything. He wants me.
He wants every single one of my flaws, all my craziness, my busy schedule, my sarcastic sense of humor, he wants me; body, soul, mind and heart.
And this Lent I am hoping by entering into this fast, despite everyone around me dating, getting engaged, having children and moving into the next phase of their lives, I hope that I can just sit with Christ.
I hope that I can put my desire for my vocation aside to just be with Christ.
To just be in the desert, suffering through my sacrifices and being alone with Christ, so that I can love him more than anything and in turn love my future family and spouse with an unconditional and never ending love like God has for me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Fraser moved to Euclid, OH in 2013 when she discovered her passion of working with high school and middle school teens. When she isn't spending time falling in love with Christ, going for a run, traveling to new places, or hanging out with teens, she can be found shoving her face with copious amounts of tacos and guacamole. She also loves to spend time with her five nephews and two nieces, as well as the rest of her family.