“Come, let us bind ourselves to Yahweh by an everlasting covenant never to be forgotten.” (Jeremiah 50:5)
“I (Yahweh) led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.” (Hosea 11:4)
The season of Lent is upon us. We are asked to pause from the routine, ordinary time, to take a good, honest look at ourselves, and to ask for Gods’ grace to transform the parts of us that separate us from Him. It’s a time of self-reflection and repentance. I recently read this definition of sin: the failure to bother to love. I would add: God, self, and others.
I’m sure many of us have an abundance of Lenten devotionals and good reading material. I’m not going to add many of my own words to that. But I would like to encourage us all to make a serious effort to harvest all the good fruit that this season has to offer us. I’m very drawn to the Scripture passages above. They remind me of God’s tender love. They draw me to desire to experience and cling to that love more deeply.
I attended Ash Wednesday services and plan to participate in many of the events that my church offers. Doing something physical to show my desire to grow closer to God seems to have a deeper impact.
I encourage us to take a fresh look at the ancient path of Jesus. I offer these thoughts:
- Consider spending quiet time with Jesus in front of a crucifix. Just be there with him in his suffering and see what happens. You could ask him: “What are you wanting to form in me during this season?” Or gaze at the cross and reflect on these truths: He did this for me. God heals incurable wounds. Ask him to increase your faith. To help you learn from the hard in life. The best comes from going deeper.
- Practice radical attentiveness to life. We can be addicted to distractions and lose sensitivity to the subtleties. Earth is crammed with heaven if we take the time to notice. We need to practice depth. Like the difference between scuba diving and jet-skiing. We don’t want to just skim the surface of life. Let’s take the risk to dive in deep.
- Lastly, but so important, pray often and honestly. A dear Benedictine sister I had the pleasure of knowing would say: “We dot the day with prayer.” I’ve also heard: “Pepper your day with prayer.” That’s how we can bind ourselves to the Lord and let him lead us with kindness and love.
Every Lent should change our lives.
For those of you who remember the musical Godspell, these song lyrics offer us a meaningful prayer for the season of Advent:
Day by day
Day by day
Oh, Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
A blessed Lent to you all.