The first things that come to our mind when we think of Lent is:- Giving up chocolates, watching moves, stop eating meat….
Too many times, we focus on what we have to give up, and doing on external actions without us growing closer to God.
What is the point?
Joel 2, 13 “Return to God with all your heart”
God calls us to return to Him. This is the point of the season of Lent!
Maybe we think that we are not away from God because we go for mass, help the needy people, etc.
But in reality, God is not in our lives at all. We do things FOR GOD, but we do not have a real intimate relationship WITH GOD. God is Love. God is Relationship.
Lent is to journey toward God, and the journey takes us to our heart, where we find God.
When I say ‘Heart’, it is not referring to our physical heart.
In the Biblical language, heart refers to our inner self, the center of our being where God is Fully present, Fully Alive.
Pay attention to this heart of ours, to this center of our being where God dwells.
Let us ask ourselves:
- How is my heart? Is my heart a place where He dwells?
- Is my heart harden against God?
- Is my heart full of things that distract me from loving God?
Sometimes, our hearts have space, not for God, but for other inner forces that lead us away from God. We are constantly being pushed by some forces towards certain addictions, habits that we find it hard to resist. Like St Paul, we feel many times, the tug-of-war within.
- Romans 7, 15-25: I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate…. My inner being delights in the law of God. But I see a different law at work in my body—a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of. It makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is at work in my body. What an unhappy man I am!
This is the constant conflict in us. We know our own sins that we struggle with, for example, sin of lust, greed, anger, envy, laziness. These vices, these inner forces made us to be unhappy and disfigures and blurs the image of God in us.
Instead of being a child of God, we become slaves to sins.
- Pope Francis: Brothers and Sisters, God’s face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience He has with each one of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us, He does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to Him with a contrite heart. “Great is God’s mercy,” says the Psalm.
God is merciful, patient.He understands our struggle. He waits for us to turn back to Him.
When we do, He never gets tired of forgiving us. Let us take this time to walk back to God and remain in His Love.
By Sr Sandra Seow, FMVD