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Lenten Challenge

It’s “No Complaint Friday” And You’ll Never Guess What Happened To Me So Far…


 

Catholic Speaker, author and evangelist Gary Zimak explains that it's possible to thank God for everything that happens to us - good or bad.

It’s been an interesting “No Complaint Friday” for me so far. Since I woke up, here’s what my day has been like…

It’s cloudy and damp outside.

I’m very tired and could barely get out of bed to go to Mass this morning.

I had a difficult time focusing at Mass.

My sciatica hurts a lot.

I don’t feel especially happy today.

I have a lot of work to do and too little time to do it.

I have to keep standing up because it hurts too much to sit.

I have a wonderful family.

God is available for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jesus makes Himself fully present (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) at every Mass.

Jesus loves me so much that He became man, suffered died and rose from the dead so that I can go to Heaven.

It’s all about learning to focus, my friends. More often than not, it’s the “unimportant” things that bother us the most. And by “unimportant” I mean everything that doesn’t affect our eternal salvation. I complain way too much and I’m going to keep working on it until I get better. The good news is that feelings are neither right nor wrong. Just because I’m feeling down in the dumps doesn’t mean I can’t express gratitude for EVERYTHING that happens in my life. I hope you’ll continue to join me on these “No Complaint Fridays”. Click HERE to find out more.

It’s “No Complaint Friday”…How Are You Doing?


 

Catholic Speaker, Author and Evangelist Gary Zimak announces "No Complaint Friday".

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. (Psalm 118:24)

Earlier this week on my blog and radio show, I announced my 24 Hour Lenten Challenge, also known as “No Complaint Friday”. You can read the details HERE, but essentially the point is to spend an entire day without complaining about anything. And what better day of the week to choose than Friday, the day that Jesus suffered and died on the Cross in order to make it possible for us to go to Heaven? So, how’s it going? It’s difficult isn’t it? Believe me, I’m struggling with it too. On the other hand, doesn’t it give you a sense of accomplishment and peace? Here’s something to think about. If we can learn to thank God for the trials and suffering in our lives, can you imagine how peaceful we will be and what a great witness we will provide for others?

Keep up the good work and let’s pray for one another as we try (remember that it’s okay to fail, as long as we try) to finish the rest of the day without complaining about anything. And if you can do it for one day, you can probably do it for two, or three. You never know, my friends, we just might be trying this again next week 😉

Want To Make This A Great Lent? Try This Challenge…


 

Catholic Speaker and author Gary Zimak discusses the importance of growing close to Jesus during Lent.

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)

As we approach the halfway point of Lent, I thought it would be a good idea to pose a question and to issue a challenge. Let’s begin with the question. Are you ready? Here goes…

Are you closer to Christ today than you were on Ash Wednesday?

Tricky, isn’t it? If I asked how you were making out with giving up sweets, coffee or Facebook you probably wouldn’t even have to think about it. On the other hand, trying to decide if you’re closer to Jesus than you were a few weeks ago can be challenging. In reality, however, that’s the point of Lent. If you abstained from candy for the entire forty days and ended up no closer to the Lord than when you started, you wasted your time. While fasting is an important part of the Lenten season, it is only part of the overall goal of growing closer to Jesus.

How can we tell if we are growing closer to Jesus? I recently wrote a blog about the topic which was also shared on the Catholic Stand website and linked to by the National Catholic Register. While I would strongly encourage you to read the entire article, I want to focus on my first question, which happens to be the subject for the challenge that I’m about to issue:

Was I grateful for everything that happened to me today (good and bad)?

If you find yourself cringing, don’t panic. That is a normal reaction. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be content with answering “no” to that question. If, for the remainder of Lent, we can make some progress in this area, there’s a very good chance that this could be our best Lent ever. Learning to be grateful for each day that the Lord gives us is a great way of expressing our love for Him. Put yourself in His shoes for a minute and think about what it would feel like to give someone a great gift and hear nothing but complaints. Every day that the Lord gives us is a gift. It is a chance to know, love and serve Him. It is a chance to gain merit and eventually live with Him in Heaven. Instead of being grateful, however, we complain…

It’s too hot.
It’s too cold.
My job is boring.
I’m tired.
I wish I had more money.
My coworkers are annoying.
If only I was better looking.
Everyone treats me unfairly.
My pastor’s homilies are too long.
My pastor’s homilies are too short.

You get the point, right? Now, here’s the challenge. Beginning on Friday, March 28, I challenge you to not complain about anything from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. No negative words, no negative thoughts. If something unpleasant happens to you, make it a point to thank the Lord for allowing it to happen.

What do you think? Are you ready to fast from complaining for one day? I know it will be difficult and many of us will slip up, but there is much to be gained from this sacrifice. If you can’t decide whether or not to participate, here’s something that might help. On the night before He died, Jesus suffered tremendously in the garden. One of the greatest sources of His suffering was the knowledge of all the sins that would be committed by each one of us. Yes, Jesus is God and He knew every sin that you and I would ever commit and it caused Him a great deal of anguish. On the other hand, He also saw every sacrifice and act of love that we would perform until the end of time. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that we were able to ease Jesus’ suffering a bit? Every time we refrain from complaining we do just that.

If you make it through one day without complaining (or maybe complaining a little bit less than normal), the possibilities are endless. How about two, three, four or more days? How about a month, six months or several years. This simple act of self-denial could change your life and the lives of those around us.

I’m going to try it. How about you?

“Living joyful, trustful acceptance isn’t complicated. One simply offers himself to God with confidence and then accepts everything with praise and thanksgiving, seeing all as coming from God’s loving, fatherly hands.” (Fr. Michael Gaitley, Consoling The Heart of Jesus, pg. 96)