As we careen towards the halfway point of our Lenten journey it is good to take a moment and step back, take a deep breath and ask...what are we looking for this Lent? To get closer to God? To clean up our act? To feel more religious? Or, just to lose a few pounds?
We have to be frank about our objective because we’re bound to find what we seek. The right answer might not be what we think it is. We don’t have to get closer to God. We can’t -- God’s right here! God dwells in us; temples of the Holy Spirit! Getting closer to God’s ‘will’ might be a better goal because that alignment is often very far off. It’s what most of us struggle with.
If we find ourselves thinking that Lent is not working -- that the enchantment of “feeling our religion” isn’t happening this year -- then maybe the answer is to practice a new consciousness. What if we all tried to spend one hour a day trying to be consciously aware of God in every person we met and every place we go. Keep searching with our eyes, our mind, our heart.
If we practice believing what we profess—that God is in our midst—then we are much more likely to awaken to the presence of the Divine! At the very least it will begin to change how we see and relate to other people as we practice seeing and believing the Divine presence within each one of them, regardless of how they may treat us! This is what Pope Francis is hoping will happen as we draw near to immigrants and refugees, to all those who are marginalized....that we will come to know them as sister and brother, as images of the Creator, as children of God.
In whom is it most difficult for me to see God? What deeper reality is God calling me to this Lent? To whom am I being called to “draw nearer”?
Let us continue to hold the people of Ukraine in our thoughts and prayers. Let us pray for a swift end to the war being raged by Russia against the people of Ukraine and for the U.S. and other countries of the world to increase their combined efforts and intercede to bring about a peaceful end to this war, and all the wars being waged around the world.