2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
"Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment." Joel 2: 12-13
Today we begin another 40 day journey through Lent to Easter. The Church in her wisdom invites us to slow down and look more deeply at our lives. It’s a time to strengthen our spirits in the fight of flesh vs spirit. We are encouraged to fast, to repent, to pray more and to be generous to others. Lent is a perfect opportunity for renewal and a chance to grow in our relationship with the Lord who loves us so much!
Here are some tried and true ideas to help you go deeper this Lent. Add another daily devotional to your morning prayers. Take one of your crucifixes and put it in an unusual place in your home where you will see it often. Stop and reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice each time you see it. Find a prayer partner and set up a time to pray together each day or week during Lent. You could pray on the phone if you can’t get together in person, or you could make it a prayer walk and get the added benefit of exercising together. Sign up for a small faith-sharing group or volunteer to facilitate a group. Go to confession. Find a way to go to daily Mass where grace abounds! I like to call it the two-for-one meal. You feast on God’s Word and you receive the Eucharist. What could be better?
God is inviting us to return to Him with our whole hearts — no matter what shape they are in. He wants us to bring Him our broken hearts so that He can heal us; our sinful hearts so that He can forgive us; our closed and fearful hearts so that He can assure us of His love and His faithful companionship. He wants to make us whole again!
Don’t let bad habits or laziness or unforgiveness or some secret sin keep you away from the only One who will love you no matter what. Turn back to Him for He truly is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment." One last thing we can do this Lent: Let’s all pray for each other as we journey towards the wholeness that God desires for each of us so that on Easter Sunday we may all rise to new life with the Lord. God bless you!
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.jcarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected]