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Following The Truth: A (Lenten) Advent “Weight” Loss Program (Catholic or Open) ^ | February 18th, 2010 | Gary Zimak

Posted on 12/12/2011 9:34:12 AM PST by Salvation

A Lenten “Weight” Loss Program

February 18th, 2010 by Gary Zimak

If you are expecting this article to provide suggestions for dropping some pounds during the Lenten season, I’m afraid that you may be disappointed.  However, I strongly urge you to continue reading since the “weight” loss that I will address will allow you to shed some of the sins and earthly attachments that keep you from getting closer to God!

Let’s face it, we are all weighed down to some extent by selfishness and assorted vices.  Given a choice, very few of us will choose suffering over comfort.  Many times, we don’t even realize how much we love to be comfortable.  Fortunately, the Church gives us the season of Lent to examine our souls and remove the extra “weight” that keeps us apart from the Lord.  Here are five simple steps that you can use during Lent to identify and eliminate some of this excess “poundage” from your life.

Determine what is weighing you down – For many of us, we aren’t even aware of those things that weigh us down.  The first step in this process is to use prayerful meditation to discover the “weighty” issues.  Take a look at how you spend your time.  Do your activities bring you closer to the Lord?  Do you spend an exorbitant amount of time on leisure activities?  Are you holding grudges against those who may have offended you?  Do your daily actions set a good example for your children, family, co-workers or fellow students?  Are you in the state of mortal sin? Have you fallen away from the Church?  Answering these questions honestly provides the foundation for the other steps.

Set realistic goals – You aren’t going to realistically eliminate all your excess “weight” during the forty days of Lent, so don’t try!  Obviously, you should first concentrate on any mortal sins in your life.  This can be addressed by repenting and receiving the Sacrament of Confession.  As a reminder, the Church still teaches that any unforgiven mortal sins can result in the eternal damnation of hell (CCC 1035), so these matters should be addressed immediately.  I’m not trying to frighten anyone, but rather to emphasize that it’s extremely urgent to obtain forgiveness for mortal sins through sacramental Confession as soon as possible!  For those other faults and imperfections in your life, choose a few that you’d like to eliminate.  You may want to start with those that are the easiest to correct or you may want to tackle the ones that cause the most difficulty in your spiritual life.  Don’t forget to ask the Holy Spirit to help you with this process.  He will point you in the right direction.

Substitute “healthy” alternatives – What do you do when you feel worried or stressed?  Watch television, eat, drink, go shopping?  While none of these things are intrinsically evil, perhaps there’s a “healthier” alternative.  Rather than using these activities to escape from our problems, we could instead turn to the Lord in prayer.  Praying for an enemy is a great alternative to getting angry or holding a grudge. Going to daily Mass once or twice a week can be substituted for an hour of sleep.  Money that would have been spent on shopping can be donated to charity.  The gift of each new day is a precious gift from God and choosing how we spend our time shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Even if they aren’t sinful, the elimination of useless activities can free up time that can be given to God.

Don’t try to do it alone – God doesn’t expect us to execute this plan on our own.  He provides us with the gifts of the Eucharist and Confession to assist us with our “weight” loss program.  The sacraments provide us with the graces that we need to achieve our goal.  Don’t ignore them!  If you find yourself committing the same sin repeatedly, the graces received in the Eucharist and Confession can give you the strength necessary to finally be victorious.  Also, be sure to pray and ask the Lord for His help.  While it sounds obvious, it’s very easy to get so caught up in our own efforts that we forget to involve God in the process.  Unfortunately, doing it alone just about guarantees failure.  The Lord knows that we are weak and therefore is always willing to offer His assistance.

Don’t give up – A wise priest once gave me some great advice.  He explained that if you are trying to overcome a particular sin or imperfection and fail 99 out of 100 times, rejoice that you succeeded one time and don’t get discouraged.  The devil loves it when we become discouraged and will often use our failures to convince us to quit.  If you fail, repent, go to confession if necessary and keep on going!  From time to time, our human nature is going to get the best of us and we will fail in our effort to please the Lord.  Jesus addressed this situation in the Garden when He told His sleeping disciples, “the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt 26:41)  St. Paul also comments on the weakness of the flesh when he states, “the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.” (Gal 5:17)  In other words, don’t be surprised if you fail sometimes.  The desire for comfort and pleasure seeking can be very powerful, but with our persistence and God’s grace we can win the battle.

I encourage you to try these steps during this Lenten season and see what a difference they make in your life.  Even if you fail at every attempt to shed your excess “weight” (which I don’t think will happen), you still will have tried and the Lord will appreciate and reward your effort.  In the meantime, take advantage of the gift of Lent to keep shedding those spiritual pounds.  By doing so, there’s a good chance you’ll celebrate Easter a little “lighter”!

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; prayer; repentance; sacraaments

Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (, a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show”, Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo” and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs.  In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.  He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.

1 posted on 12/12/2011 9:34:28 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Substituting Advent for Lent or Lenten in the article, what is weighing you down?

For Catholics, take advantage of the Reconciliation (Penance) Service that will soon be held. Ours is this week.

2 posted on 12/12/2011 9:39:08 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Excellent! Thank you.

3 posted on 12/12/2011 9:49:29 AM PST by Bigg Red (In this Advent season: Prepare ye the way of the Lord.)
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To: Bigg Red
The Seal of Confession and The Virtue of Religion
First Confession Guide for Adults [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Examination of Conscience [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Examination of Conscience
Examination of Conscience
A Guide for Confession

Why Go to Confession? (Part 1) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte
Why Go to Confession? (Part 2) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte
How To Make a Good Confession (especially if you haven't gone in years)
Why Go to Confession? (Part 3) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte
Pulling Sin up by the Roots: The Need for Mortification
Reasons for Confession [Sacrament of Reconciliation]
Cardinal Stafford's Homily at Penitential Liturgy With an Examination of Conscience
How to Go to Confession
Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession
Learning to Confess

4 posted on 12/12/2011 10:11:14 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Contraception: The Reason Catholics Have Abandoned Confession
Penance and Reparation: A Lenten Meditation(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

Helping Penitents To Achieve True Conversion
Selling Confession
The Sacrament of Penance: (also known as "Confession" or "Reconciliation") [Catholic Caucus]
The Sacrament of Healing: Perfect and Imperfect Contrition [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Confession (Catholic Caucus)
Part 3 of 10: Sacrament of Penance, Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest? [Catholic Caucus]
The Same Old Things.
Importance of Confession During Lent - Making a Good Confession
Need for Annual Confession - (is it necessary?)
Around the clock Confession to take place in New York City
Friday Fast Fact: Friday Penance
The Essentials of the Catholic Faith, Part Two: Channels of Grace, Penance
[Catholic Caucus] Confession – Is It Still Necessary?
Confession to God Alone? Scripture Alone?
Pope: There's an Answer to Empty Confessionals [Catholic Caucus]
Pope alarmed by decline in confessions
Part 2 of 10: Sacrament of Penance, Church’s symbols help explain penance [Catholic Caucus]
Part 1 of 10: Sacrament of Penance, Jesus placed great value on forgiveness [Catholic Caucus]
Confession Questions >From the Pew [Catholic Caucus] Introduction to 10 Part Series
Part 1 of 10: Sacrament of Penance, Jesus placed great value on forgiveness [Catholic Caucus]

Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Rising Again to New Life [Ecumenical]
It’s Confession Time (Dioceses Nationwide Promoted the Sacrament of Penance This Lent )
Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest?
Why do Catholics have to confess their sins to a priest instead of praying straight to God? [Ecu]
When did confession to a priest start? [Ecumenical]
Confession, Confession Everywhere (Cardinal Says Youth Day Is Reviving the Sacrament)
In One Church, Confession Makes a Comeback (Catholic Caucus)
Priests should encourage recovery of Sacrament of Reconciliation
A Gift That is Always in Season (Sacrament of Penance) Catholic Caucus
The Epidemic and the Cure [The Sin of the World and the Sacrament of Reconciliation] (Confession)

Confessional Advice
Thinking Inside the Box: An Attitude for Confession
MORTAL SIN and HOLY CONFESSION - The Antidote of Death
A Comeback for Confession
What You [Catholics] Need to Know: Penance (Reconciliation, Confession) [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Confessing to 'sins' is booming in America (Evangelicals and Protestants take up practice)
Emerging Trends: The Return to the Confessional
Get Thee To A Confessional! (beautiful insight for those who dread going to Confession)
Salvation: Just click and confess

MESSAGE FOR ALL CATHOLICS (in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday - April 15)
Pope Hears Confessions of Youth
Priests say more Catholics returning to confession
Confession’s Comeback
Repentance and Confession - Introduction [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholics called from the idiot box to confession
Benedict XVI Extols Sacrament of Penance - Says Priests Need to Make It a Priority
The Early Church Fathers on Confession / Reconciliation - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
What happened to confession – Changing mores reflective of use
The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession

Pick a sin, any sin (Confession gone awry)
St. Ephraim the Syrian: On Repentance
Serious about God? Then get serious about confession
Lesson 20: Confession (Part 2) BY FATHER ROBERT ALTIER
Lesson 19: Confession (Part 1) BY FATHER ALTIER
Reasons for Confession [Sacrament of Reconciliation]
Holy Week Recovers Celebration of Penance (at St. Peter's Basilica) - photos!
Those in Mortal Sin Can't Go to Communion, Says Pope
Make a Good Confession
[Sacrament of]Confession

5 posted on 12/12/2011 10:15:52 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Doctor put me on a pre-diabetic low-carb diet. No fruitcake for me!

6 posted on 12/12/2011 10:22:40 AM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: Salvation

Well, I was hoping for a quick diet, but this is a good program too. ;^)

7 posted on 12/12/2011 10:51:10 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Larry Lucido

What about the weight of sin on your spirit?

8 posted on 12/12/2011 2:24:32 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Betrayal by one I broke bread with, abandonment, watching Satan stride broadly in the world

9 posted on 12/12/2011 2:46:34 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: All
Following The Truth: A (Lenten) Advent “Weight” Loss Program (Catholic or Open)

Following The Truth: Hurry Up, Lord…I’m Waiting! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Evangelize? Sorry, But I’m Catholic! (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know (But Should!) (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Letting Your Conscience Be Your Guide(What Jiminy Cricket Didn’t Tell You) [Catholic or Open]
Following The Truth: Catholic “Fluff” – The Enemy Within (Catholic or Open)
Following The Truth: Appreciating The Gift Of Suffering (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Satan’s Attack On The Church – What You Can Do! (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: Saying “Y-E-S” to God During Lent (and Advent) [Catholic or Open]
Following the Truth: Spiritual Dryness: “I Don’t Feel Anything!” (Catholic or Open)
Following the Truth: A Biblical Roadmap To The One, True Church (Catholic or Open)

10 posted on 12/15/2011 4:35:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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