So many times as we begin Lent, we ask ourselves what we are “going to give up” or what we are “going to do” to draw closer to God. Often we will take time before the start of the season to list these specific check boxes that we set out for ourselves. We say “Number 1: I will pray five minutes when I wake up, 2: I will give up social media every other day,…” and so on. The problem with making these specific targets is that we lose sight of their purpose. Instead of focusing on how they are bringing us closer to God this Lent, we focus on checking off our Lent bucket list. We create our own penances and sacrifices based on what we think is best for us. These are not always what we need to bring us closer to God in our own personal situations. As a result, at the end of Lent we often are left with the feeling that we could have done more. This is because it is not us who fully understand what we need, but God.
God knows what is truly good for us. He knows us inside and out — better than we know ourselves. The actions and sacrifices we may think will strengthen our relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit this Lent may bring us to a shallower level than what God has in mind for us. By allowing the Lord to guide us through the Lenten season, we can achieve a much deeper and more meaningful encounter with Him. In the 1st reading this morning from Isaiah, the prophet speaks of the Lord “Giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats.” God knows our individual needs. He knows what needs to change in each of our own personal situations during this season. This is why we cannot limit ourselves to our own reforms. During this Lent, we must open our hearts to the Lord to accept what He wants us to do. If God perfectly and wholly knows your current state right now and if He has a plan for your salvation, does it not make sense that He would also know the best road to Him?
Take time in silence today, and each day of this Lent to simply let the Holy Spirit breathe into you His desires for you. Just let go of whatever predictions or standards you have for this season and listen to God’s voice. What is God trying to say to you? His plan doesn’t need to be something you do everyday just to check the box. Realize that He is calling you a more whole and complete Lent. Instead of solely changing your habits, ask for God’s assistance in changing attitude, sharpening conscience, or deepening your relationship with Him through whatever means that He desires. What is important is that we remember that God wants us to have the best Lent ever. He, not we, can give ourselves a transformative, meaningful, and profound Lenten experience. For as Christ said to His apostles, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Brendan, Class of 2020
Music: Kathrin by Sascha Ende