Editor’s note: During Lent The Compass is offering a series, “Ways to Jump-Start Your Faith.” Local columnists draw on their experiences to offer ways for everyday Catholics to more fully experience the penitential season of Lent. This week’s column is by Sr. Mardelle Meinholz.
In one week, the Triduum will again unfold, leaving Lent behind and opening the most sacred time of the year. This reflection is the final article in the series, “Ways to Jump-Start Your Faith.” But what if we have procrastinated this Lent and have not gotten around to deepening our relationship with God? Do we shrug our shoulders, bury our guilt, and tell ourselves it is too late to enter into Lent?
No! Each day dawns anew. Rhythms are provided because we are creatures of habit and habits assist us in living. Advent, Lent, First Fridays, birthdays, novenas, football season. This life rhythm reminds us of those moments which are ingrained in our subconscious and calls forth a heart response.
Some of the previous articles presented ways to jump-start our faith centered on what we can do. This last week of Lent I challenge you and myself to focus primarily on what God is doing for us. We like to be in control. We can fast with the best intentions and, at times, we need to fast from many items. We can give alms and be generous with our time and talents to benefit others, but it is our choice to whom we give. We can pray, participating in weekday Masses and Stations of the Cross and Lenten presentations, which are beneficial to our spiritual growth.
Any experience of the Lord calls forth a response. At the tomb, Mary Magdalene recognizes the risen Lord and she is sent to the apostles. At the ascension of Jesus, the apostles are instructed to go to the whole world to tell them of the good news of Jesus, and they did. Our encounter with the Lord results in us ministering to those we meet in our daily life. This is a primary aspect of understanding how God acts within us: God initiates an invitation and we respond.
However, as the Triduum moves closer to us, can we be humble enough to let God have the rightful place in our lives?
In Scripture, over and over for centuries, God tells us his wish for us:
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps 46:11)
“Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you.” (Is 43: 4)
“I will betroth you to me forever:
I will betroth you to me with justice and with judgment,
with loyalty and with compassion;
I will betroth you to me with fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.” (Hos 2:21-22)
“You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” (Is 62: 3)
“For the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be espoused.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” (Is 62: 4b-5)
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. …
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” (Jn 14:20- 21)
Are we able to believe this? The challenge I propose is to let God love you during Holy Week. In the quiet of the woods that Deacon Steve Meyer spoke of in the first article of the series, or in the silence of a church, or before the children are up for the day, let God love you. That is God’s desire for you: to be surrounded by the love of the Trinity.
“Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:11).” This may be the hardest of the challenges we face. Why? Because few of us truly believe that God’s will for us is love.
A multitude of Scripture passages exist which tell us about God’s love. Perhaps you have favorite ones at the tip of your finger which speak of God’s love for creation. To save time for some, the above quotations from Scripture could be used.
However you begin prayer, do so. At some point, read slowly the chosen Scripture passage over several times allowing the words to descend within you. Then, let God love you.
Pax et bonum.
Sr. Mardelle is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc.