Even now, says the LORD, return to Me with your whole heart,
For gracious and merciful is He, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. Joel 2:12-13
How can a heart that is given over to the affection of created beings
be intimately united with God? –St. Therese of Lisieux (Story of a Soul, p. 85)
Jesus’ whole life bears witness to the truth we find so hard to believe:
God loves us; He is unequivocally for us, not against us…
In essence, Christ’s life proclaims: “You don’t believe God loves you?
Let me show you how much God loves you…This is my body given for you.”
–Christopher West, Theology of the Body For Beginners, pg. 42
Ash Wednesday marks a season in which we especially
ponder our relationship to suffering.
Praying, fasting, and giving alms are not arcane holdovers from a time
when people more inured to suffering than we are found such practices easy.
Fasting has always been hard.
Fasting is a reflection of the fact that the more desperate we are,
the more open we are to change.
Fasting reminds that the more keenly aware we are of empty hands
and our empty stomach, the more likely we are to realize we need help.
Fasting helps us remember that we are all poor,
and how very much we do not want to be poor.
–Heather King, Magnificat Feb. 2013, pg. 171
This Lent, I am giving up my unbelief. It is extremely difficult for me to believe God loves me. I require constant proofs of love. I am full of constant doubt. Lord, let me see the ways you have generously loved me in the past and let me see the ways you generously love me each day now. Help me believe in Your love.
I am giving up my ideas about how people ‘should’ love me* Lord, help me feel truly and wholly loved in You. Help me stop asking others to meet the need only You can fully satisfy.
Lastly, I am giving up the need to be fixed. I have come face-to-face with my human weakness and now realize that no person, place or thing can fix me.* Lord, help me find my wholeness in You. Help me humbly accept my human weakness and instead of despairing, rejoice in the ways You are redeeming my life story.
* With many thanks to Heather King and her book,”Shirt of Flame,” especially the reflections from page 28-33 which inspired these Lenten intentions
Are you giving anything up for Lent? Please share with me….?