A guest post by Dan Sealana
By this point in Lent, you likely have either mastered whatever Lenten sacrifice you promised you’d make or you’ve failed miserably. Perhaps, like me, you never even bothered to start. Whether you’re a Lent superstar or a Lenten slacker, I’m here to offer you an idea of a powerful “sacrifice” that you can start today.
I once heard a host on EWTN radio offer some startling spiritual warfare advice to a caller. The host suggested that the listener praise God for every evil and turmoil in their life. He said we should praise God out loud for everything that is troubling us.
A cynic may brush off this advice as cheesy Christian positive thinking or as just plain weird. But there was some simple and very powerful logic behind the host’s unusual advice. The enemy and the demons hate praise.
If your problems are due to spiritual attack, they’ll stop because the enemy won’t do anything that would cause you to immediately praise God. If the struggles in your life aren’t caused by evil influence, praising God is a good practice anyway! Either way, you win.
So, are your kids on drugs? Praise God! Are you suffering from depression? Praise God! Do you have strong temptations towards certain sins? Praise God!
In the just under two years I spent in religious formation and discernment for the priesthood, some of my most therapuetic moments were the times I spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament praising God out loud for my struggles. I would often think to myself, “If everyone did this, we wouldn’t need psychiatrists!”
Yes, it’s easier said then done. And, yes, perhaps the Holy Spirit inspired me to write this blog entry in order to remind my big, thick, stubborn skull that I need to get back into the habit of doing it myself.
Of course, we should never seek out problems in our life so that we have more to praise God for. (Don’t worry. Problems will come. You don’t need to search for them.) And we should never hesitate to seek out help from others and from God to help us break free of the trials we face. But offering praise to God helps take away the stranglehold that we can often feel our problems have over us. Praising God in the midst of our pain can help remind us Who is in charge and Who always triumphs.
I prepared for writing this blog entry by typing of a list of 50 things I wanted to praise God for. The list ranged from the frivilous (“Praise God for air conditioning!”) to the serious (“Praise God for the Sacrament of Reconcillation!”). It only took a few minutes and I’m sure I could have easily come up with 50 more.
Once you get started, it’s easy (and humbling) to remember all the things you should be thanking God for.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers us a startling reminder: “The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day” (#409).
Spiritual warfare is an often forgotten but essential part of the Christian life. Remembering to offer many “sacrifices of praise” is a powerful weapon in this battle.
Dan Sealana is the director/editor for San Antonio Catholic Beat. He has a background in journalism and radio. Dan currently blogs at several sites, including his newly started Catholic Radio Reject. You can follow Dan on Twitter as @CatholicDan.
This year, one of the things I gave up (again — I’ve done it before but need to do it often) was complaining. To stop mid-complaint, and instead thank God for each and every circumstance — yes, it is indeed powerful and it was just what I needed this Lent.
Sarah — on another topic, Pat Gohn dropped a meme on me and I’m passing it on to you. It’s this:
The rules: Those tagged will share 5 things they love about Jesus/why they love Jesus. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers and will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them.
Blessed Lent to you, Sarah, and to you, Dan.
And Pat, if you should happen to read this, I mean “dropped a meme” in the most affectionate way. 🙂
Hahaha, now I’ve been tagged for that one TWICE!