We all have heard the expression, "be careful what you pray for, you may get it', well, that goes double for this weekend's opening prayer. We will pray
"Father, through our observance of Lent, help us to understand the meaning of your Son's death and resurrection, and teach us to reflect it in our lives."
We must ALWAYS keep before us, the fact that, Lent is EVERY day. We must also remember that Easter is everyday as well. What we are doing during these days is just focusing deeper on, an everyday reality. We take 40 days to focus on a deeper level, that which is our reality 24/7. Each and every day, we, just like Jesus had to do, face the temptations that come with us being spiritual beings, having a human experience. These temptations come to us through the people, places, and events of our daily living. We cannot avoid temptation, all we are called to do is to say, "No". We must also remember temptation, is, NOT, a sin. [Our thoughts, feelings, emotions are not sin.] We are never alone in temptation, all our fellow human beings are going through the same struggle. It is great to know, that there is no one who is exempt, not even Jesus Himself. We all have to face the struggle that comes with encountering evil, disguised as apparent good. That is what sin is, the reaching out to the apparent good, only to find out, what the scriptures reminds of "angels of darkness, do appear as angels of light". We must always be cognoscente of the fact, we will NEVER do anything that at that MOMENT did not appear to us to be good. We have done things that five seconds later, “not a good decision:, five days later, “a bad decision”, five years later, “how could I have done something like that?”. We are all in the same boat, and through the mercy of God, it is not the Titanic!!! To help us make the right, and healthy decisions, we come with that, which when listened to, will always lead us in the right road. It is called conscience. We are obliged to have an informed conscience, that is one guided by The Truth, not what we would like it to be, but the real truth. It is formed in us, through the power of the Spirit of Truth. That formation, IS a life-long process. That same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same power we are offered to enable us to make healthy decisions, and so, make a good decision. The Holy Spirit is given to us as our guide, and Comforter.
A guide, can only be an effective guide, only when listened to, and his advice is followed. The season of Lent is given to us so we can take an honest look, that is an HONEST look at our lives. Honesty is tough. It is difficult to face. That is why we need enemies, they tell us, with great glee, I might add, what our friends will not tell us, but we need to hear. Honesty is tough, and disarming.
It takes away all illusions. It is essential for spiritual growth.
Thank God, it is progressive. What we can handle will be revealed to us, what would overwhelm us will be held back until a later time. How good our God is, and how merciful. In Lent we are asked to take a look at our lives, in a way most of us never do during the rest of the year. We are not only asked to take a look at our actions. We are also asked to do something which is really difficult, we must take a look at the MOTIVES, behind the actions, nasty. This honesty will challenge us to stop scapegoating others. We have to accept the fact that we cannot blame others for what are our actions. The classics are;
You make me angry.....
You make sad...
You make me drink...
You make me use drugs..
You make me gamble..
You made me have an affair..
That list goes on and on. Also "you made me do…" has to go as well. As I said, honesty is tough, disarming and dismantling. Honesty reveals to you and I, a nakedness we would prefer not to look at. We see how Jesus was also stripped naked and then was crucified. We have to look at ourselves through the new lens of honesty and come to admit we have been looking for love in all the wrong places. There must be a change. The great challenge is to accept the fact that we do NOT choose the change, it is the Holy Spirit who will lead us to our unique way of renewal, repentance, and conversion. So there is no need to check what others are doing for Lent, they are not you. The Holy Spirit is meeting them, and working with them in their own reality. We all need to be converted.
Conversion means turning around, yes, make a U-EE. God loves people that make U-EES. We turn around from the direction we are headed. We begin the great journey, the great quest, to discover what we have been looking for on the outside, has all the time been hidden inside of us. This reality has been waiting to be discovered, and wait for this, to be loved by us into existence. Real happiness, comes to us when we respond to the courage given, and admit to the lie we have been believing and living. We stop buying into someone else’s lie, and, yes, even to the point of risking losing them out of our lives. Then we will know, "a new freedom and a new happiness”. It will be a happiness we will not be able to explain, so do not waste the energy. What you can do, is enjoy and celebrate so that others will see and be drawn to the source, Our heavenly Father.
“There is a beauty that has suffered its way through the ache of desolation until the words are music emerged to equal the hunger and desperation of the human heart.” John O’Donohue
“Through love and prayer are learned in the now when prayer becomes impossible and your heart turns to stone.” Thomas Merton