Lenten Journal – Day 14: Discipline and Practice

Matthew 23:3 – “Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”

Some people don’t like the word discipline. It sounds so harsh and self righteous. Some associate the word with the memories they have from early childhood. Discipline – we know it’s a necessity in order to grow and mature. We need it as well, to attain a higher education or achieve a desired goal.

Lent is also about disciplining our body, soul and spirit in order to be what God calls us to be; a better person; and to unite ourselves to Him and His Will. Of course, disciplining ourselves is a life long process and should be done everyday, in and out of the season, in all occasions. But there’s a greater emphasis on it during the season of Lent; or in some cases, a reminder that we should redirect our hearts and lives towards God. We are but frailty humans; not using this statement as an excuse but a fact that none of us is already perfect nor holy.

Disciplining our body through fasting by abstaining from meat or meal or other kinds of food, not because we want to be slimmer or save some money which we can use for some Easter vacation or other luxuries, but to unite ourselves with the poor and needy. We give the money, which we should have used for ourselves, to the poor instead.

We discipline our body to have a more structured time-table by prioritizing our time. We get up early to pray and go to bed in a proper time so that we could get up early next day without falling asleep in the middle of the prayer time. If we have never had any prayer time before, this Lent is a great time to start. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer; each according to one’s willingness and heart. God’s grace is free for all; His mercy  and love never changes.

Prayer is also a spiritual discipline that helps us grow closer to Christ; along with the reading and studying of His Words, meditating, reflecting, contemplating, singing or any other activities that help you to mold your spirit into submission to the Holy Spirit.

Disciplining our soul means being watchful of whatever comes into our senses, thoughts and hearts; be it through the TV, music, Internet, etc. Lent is a season when we grow deeper into ourselves through reading sacred or spiritual books. Time spent in Facebook or other social medias or TV programs, can be spared and used to read some books instead.

Discipline is something we do, train and practice many times, again and again and again. How can we set goals and not practice discipline?

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