This is already the first Sunday of Lent! Where does time go? Lent is a time to grow in holiness. It is a time for self-discipline and rejection of the trappings of the world, the flesh and the devil. It is also a time to come closer to God and to become the new person in Christ Jesus. I look forward to being more and more of the person I want to be and hope that Jesus empowers you to do the same.
This past year has been very trying in many ways. Between the politics and COVID you can hardly discern what is up and what is down. How nice it will be to get a respite from the chaos. I hope you take the time to get out of the mess. It is so good to spend time with Our Lord and receive His peace, wisdom and clarity. It is so comforting to know that He is the one in control.
I look forward to being with Jesus in meditating on the Stations of the Cross. Meditating on the passion of Jesus is a way in which we can be with Him while He suffered for us. Acquaintances are people who are around for the good times only. Good friends are there with each other in good times and in bad times. Jesus has already been a good friend to all of us. I look forward to being a good friend to him in meditating on His passion, in almsgiving and helping the poor. Meditating on the passion helps us grow in wisdom and grace. We benefit from it. Jesus helps us mature in the spiritual life when we invite Him in these meditations. This is a great time of the year to renew our love for Him and ponder His goodness.
How do we ponder His goodness? First, ask Jesus to be with you in your thoughts while meditating on the scriptures. Ask Him what He thinks. Pay attention to a word or phrase that sticks out to you. How are those words used in the reading? What is different about the reading from the last time you read or heard it? You can use the reading of the day used for Mass.
We can take the meditation to our corporeal and spiritual works of mercy. If you helped somebody – it can be someone off the street or in your home. After the event, ask Jesus to be in your thoughts. What struck you in the interaction with the other person? What does Jesus think about that person? Jesus is a God of mercy and love. What was Jesus telling you through this interaction? How did you see Jesus in them? This can be done with any interaction we have. It can be part of our examination of conscience.
These are just a couple ways to meditate with Jesus any time of the year. It doesn’t have to be Lent in order to come closer to Jesus. Lent is a good time for an excuse to come closer to Him. We can use Lent as an excuse to come to Jesus as long as we do not use the false pleasures as an excuse to not follow Him. If people ask you why you gave up those things, just tell them it is Lent, that is what we do. But in your heart of hearts, ask God to really change you.
There are lots of things going on that want to keep us from the love of God. We have become enslaved to fears, anxieties, lies, deceptions, addictions, lust, greed, selfishness, wanting to be liked, anger, violence, hatred, jealousy, envy, pride, unforgiveness, control, manipulation, hopelessness and a lack of faith. God came to give us freedom from all these things and to fill us with His love, joy, peace, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, and piety to make us, His sons and daughters, confident in Him. In fact, Jesus was willing to suffer with us, so that we may rejoice with Him. He is a true friend. Will you be His?