How to See the Loving Presence of God: The beginning of High School Lenten Reflections: Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Presence of God
Numerous times a day the introduction is the same. “Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God.” Every prayer begins this way. And is seems more and more needed in the world today. Things are not as they should be. That is obvious.
What is also obvious, if we are willing to admit it, is that much of the messiness in the world is the result of our brokenness. We sin, and the effects of that sin reverberate around the world. Too bad it is not the case we could have a reset button.
The reset button
Fortunately, there is. There is a reset button, given to us through the love, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. I would suggest that Lent is a type of spiritual reset button. Through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we have the invitation to start over.
“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart,” says the prophet Joel. The presence of God is always available to us. Even though we sin, if we “rend our hearts”, shedding the presence of sin, we can hit that reset button. Today is the day. Now is the time. Do not wait another moment.
Give Your Heart over to God
The secret to this is not some empty set of rules, but rather it is the giving of our heart over to God so that God can fill it with His love. It is not so that others can see what we do and compliment us. It is the internal change of our heart that is the goal.
Think of the effort you put into improving at things in life. Athletes train, lift weights, condition for better performance. Students in school study and work hard to learn. People put tremendous time into improving at the job. Some work hard to get better at a hobby or some other entertainment.
What Is It We Will Do This Lent?
So now the time has begun. How will you use this season to get to know God better? How will you sacrifice to learn more your dependence upon God and empathize with the sufferings of others? In what ways will your heart be changed so that you can be more generous to those in need?
And over the course of this season of Lent, each day, high school students will offer daily reflections. They come from a variety of perspectives, but it is the case they too can help us to see what it is God wants us to do and who God wants us to be. I find they often hit the mark because of their directness and their idealism.
So how will you work this Lent to grow in holiness? Or better asked, what will you do so that you can see how it is God is changing you? How is it God will help transform you, by his love and grace, into the person he has made you to be.
You can find podcasts, homilies and more on this website. The reflections are provided by students at Christian Brothers College High School. The readings of the day can be found on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to the Confessions of Saint Augustine, the Friar Book Club is reading the Meditations for the Time of Retreat by Saint John Baptist de la Salle. If you have intentions you wish to have prayed for, you can do so on this website.