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A "Special Mission" for the Remainder of Lent

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So, I’m a Novice, and the Sister who is our formator is notorious for assigning us “special missions.” I’ve learned in the last two years that anything that’s not on our regular schedule is considered a “special mission,” and these “special missions” range anywhere from putting books away, to picking up a Sister from the airport, to cleaning something out of the ordinary. (Actually, that’s USUALLY what it means.) But last week, Sister told us that we had an “extra-special mission.”

As if Boston weren’t cold enough outside, Sr. Carly (my co-novice) and I received a request to help clean out the community’s walk-in freezer. (If this isn’t love, I don’t know what is!) We have many kind and wonderful people who generously donate food to our community on a regular basis. Understandably, it takes a great deal of food to feed 70 people three meals a day, every day! Because we often have large quantities donated, naturally a lot of it gets put into the freezer. Like a lot of it.

Just like you have every good intention of keeping your freezer/refrigerator organized, it sometimes falls to the backburner… It may come as a surprise to you, but it’s the same for us. It’s just that disorganization in a walk-in freezer can become this crazy-huge project. And it was. The three of us spent a total of eight hours cleaning, organizing, sorting, shelving, reboxing, relabeling, and relocating….

At first we were excited about our frigid adventure (Sr. Carly kept referring to it as Arctic Tetris). After an hour or two, while we were sorting and stacking in 4 degree temperature, the atmosphere started to lose its exhilaration. It was just cold, and dim, and there was still stuff everywhere! It seemed impossible that we would ever be finished.

As I was there in the freezer, I started to think about how during Lent we are called to take stock and go through our “spiritual freezer.” We are called to look at those things we’ve thrown back in the dark corners of our heart and thought we would never have to see again. If your “freezer” looks anything like mine, there are a lot of dark corners stuffed with things I totally forgot were even there.

At the beginning of Lent we may have started off with great gusto, thinking that this Lent was going to be great, and that, by Easter, all would be in order. I’m not sure about you, but I started off this way. I had a really great list of things I was going to give up, and things I was going to do, but as time has passed, I realized that I started to feel like I did in the community freezer: cold, dim, and with stuff everywhere!

Lent was not going the way I had planned.

As I was praying one day, it dawned on me that I was trying to clean out my “spiritual freezer” by myself. I was sitting miserably in the dark and in the cold realizing that I can’t do this alone…and in that moment I knew that Jesus wanted to be an integral part of the remainder of my Lent. He had only been waiting for me to invite him to come in and live this time with him. He wants to throw on every light and warm my heart with his love.

Jesus knows our human nature. He does not condemn us, because he knows how we can fall into a rut; how we can become lukewarm and treat the sacred with little regard; how we can turn our souls into marketplaces; how we so easily get sucked back into old ways of slavery; how we clutter our heart with the temporary and the unnecessary. We so often think that some of our deep-rooted sins and vices are within our power to simply clear out. It’s not that easy. The fact is, we NEED Jesus to come and help us reorder our souls, to reorient our hearts, to clear out space in our lives so that we can be filled more with him. We can’t do it alone. Jesus wants to do it for us, but we need to invite him in.

To conclude, I want to assign YOU a “special mission”: Invite Jesus to really live the remainder of this Lent with you. Invite him to come into… reorder… and clean out your “spiritual freezer.” He wants to come and live this time with you.

Sr. Chelsea Moxley-Davis, Novice of the Daughters of St. Paul

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Comments

  • I savor, cause I found just what I used to be having a look for. You've ended my 4 dayy long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye
    8/22/2017 6:28:26 AM Reply
  • WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Lent
    10/18/2016 11:18:10 AM Reply
  • Thanks a lot Sr. Chelsea for sharing this wonderful message! It will be a great help for this lenten season!
    3/23/2015 7:45:19 PM Reply
  • Sr Chelsea Thank you for your article on "Spiritual Freezer" I spent many years in the food industry,and in freezers,,and I agree with you. I am on my way to Sunday Mass with a renew feeling for doing good for my neighbor. thanks again.
    3/22/2015 2:15:07 AM Reply
  • Sister, what you say is so true. Plans are made; plans aren't kept; & plans don't take in account every detail. To accomplish our desires, we must make Jesus in charge, and remember we will miss the mark because we are human. We thank God for giving us Jesus; for it is through Him we are able to accomplish anything. As I continue to clean, reorganize and replenish my spiritual freezer, I will continue to do so even in the dim and cold conditions. Jesus, help me and guide me.
    3/21/2015 7:28:16 AM Reply
    • @Jessica: So true! Jesus always had the best plan and He wants to accomplish it with us and in us. He is with us as our light and consolation. I'll be praying for you!
      3/21/2015 5:47:11 PM Reply
  • How very true. I was getting lukewarm. Thank you for putting me in my place again. How wonderful it is to know Jesus and letting Him be the leader of life.
    3/21/2015 6:32:49 AM Reply
  • Please note my corrected email address above! Thanks.
    3/21/2015 6:26:56 AM Reply
  • Thank you for the wonderful insight, I needed to hear your advice. I never thought of inviting our Lord to help me sort out my 'spiritual freezer.' I always invite him into my heart to help me to understand scripture, or to help me meditate on his word for deeper understanding. I never really asked him to work with me to do a spiritual cleansing. Doing a task such as your special mission to clean the walk in freezer can be overwhelming especially if you are alone. It is a lot more enjoyable when there is someone else there working beside you doing the heavy lifting with you. This cohesive work gets things accomplished, especially when this someone is Jesus who knows us better than we know ourselves. Thank you Sr. Chelsea-Vivat Jesus
    3/21/2015 6:26:15 AM Reply
    • @H. Cal: Jesus wants to be a part of ALL that we do! He is constantly waiting for us to invite Him into our everyday lives. I'll be praying for you.
      3/21/2015 5:43:10 PM Reply
  • Sr. Chelsea - what a great article! Thank you for writing it! I miss you! Come back to LA!
    3/21/2015 6:24:58 AM Reply
    • @Maria Siciliano: Thanks, Maria! I miss all my friends in LA! Let's keep praying for one another!
      3/21/2015 5:38:45 PM Reply
  • Thank you Sr. Chelsea for the most inspiring reflection on "spiritual freezer". Just what I needed. God bless.
    3/21/2015 5:38:51 AM Reply
  • Wow! The perfect message at the perfect time! Thanks so much, Sr Chelsea!
    3/21/2015 4:51:17 AM Reply
  • Sr. Chelsea Your newsletter gave me some things to think about - cleaning out and reordering the corners of my spiritual freezer, and how I need Jesus to help me do that. There are things from the past (and present) I really need to think out, and then move on with God's help. Thank you for your insightful, meaningful, and enjoyable article, and assigning me a "special mission."
    3/21/2015 4:25:07 AM Reply
    • @Sheila: I'm so happy you enjoyed the article and that it was so life-giving for you! I'll be praying for you.
      3/21/2015 5:36:24 PM Reply
  • Wow Sister so much insight and a novice!! You wrote this for me! I had my ideas for Lent and God had His! The Monday before Lent I got shingles (Yuk!) and all my great plans for daily Mass and giving up all this stuff went out the window. In its place God gave me time for meditation and a real sense of needing His strength. Thank you for putting into words what I am loving this lent. I will pray for you and look forward to reading about your progress. God bless you!
    3/21/2015 3:49:46 AM Reply
    • @Rosanne Hughes: That's "living". Nobody loves shingles !!!!
      3/21/2015 3:52:15 AM Reply
  • Wonderful. God has great plans for you and you have found your calling. This week I had an accident and was just thinking "God always takes advantage of our struggles. What is He asking of me at this time?" Sister your blog not only confirmed, but answered my question. God bless you.
    3/21/2015 3:43:18 AM Reply
  • Wish I were that eloquent when I was a novice! Thanks sister- all religious must get to know the big freezer.
    3/21/2015 3:27:59 AM Reply
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