It is March. Ash Wednesday is behind us and Lent is upon us. There are many resources available to enhance our Lenten experience. I will not add to that, but I would encourage us to take advantage of this time—these forty days—and choose wisely as to how we spend them.
It seems to me that all Lenten practices point to our hearts and God’s desire to draw our hearts closer to Himself. Scripture speaks of rending our hearts to God. Our Creator wants each of us to offer Him our heart as it is now, to allow God to break it open—our own crucifixion, and to transform us—our resurrection. God hopes to soften our hearts so we will love God and others better at the end of these forty days. That is the new life that Easter promises. A surrendered and self-giving heart like Christ’s. The time is now. Let us choose wisely.
I offer two prayers for this present time—our now:
Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Dust off the unmindful activity that constantly collects there.
De-clutter my heart from harsh judgements and negativity.
Wash away my resistance to working through difficult relationships.
Rinse off my un-loving
so the beauty of my generous and kind heart
can shine forth.
Remove whatever keeps me
from following in your compassionate footsteps. Amen.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our dignity to choose. Help me, as I begin this Lenten journey, to be aware of all the choices I make. Inspire me to choose the way of life—for my own sake and for the sake of all whom I encounter.
–Thomas Stegman, SJ