Going Against the Grain.
Have you ever felt that living the Christian life was little like swimming against a strong current? Sometimes it can appear like most of what God asks of us goes against what everyone else is doing. We are not supposed to get drunk, have sex before marriage, cheat, lie, steal, do anything to get ahead, manipulate others, become jealous, judge our neighbors, etc.… Why is it so important that we be so different? Isn’t it ok just to fit in and not get noticed every once and a while? Many of us know the answer to those questions (at least in theory). God doesn’t want us to be different in so much as he wants us to live the kind of lives we were created for. We are not supposed to sin because sin destroys our lives, relationships, homes and just about everything else (despite how glamorous sin is portrayed on TV). Although we know all this in our heads, sometimes it can be hard to make the right choice; to do what is right, to sacrifice the pleasure of now for the good life that comes later. One of the keys to becoming more like Christ is to make good choices. To choose to model Jesus’ character even when it goes against the way we are accustomed to living. But to make that choice we must have a greater desire to be like Jesus than to just fit in and be like everyone else. We need to see both what we are missing and where our choices will lead us.
This is one of the main reasons why God allows us to bear the consequences of our actions, while at the same time giving us glimpses of how wonderful it is to have God in our lives. We need to taste, touch, see, hear, and smell God – so that it (the experience) will create a hunger in us for more. Then we need to allow that hunger to lead us towards a greater experience of God and not some worldly substitute. This can be hard. This will require that we make tough choices. Lent provides us the space to make such choices. The contemplative time allows us to sow down, hear, and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. All the while keeping in mind our destination, Easter, and the resurrection power it brings. Because we know we cannot do this on our own. We need resurrection power to course through our lives, changing us at it changes the world.
“Lent is a time of going very deeply into ourselves… What is it that stands between us and God? Between us and our brothers and sisters? Between us and life, the life of the Spirit? Whatever it is, let us relentlessly tear it out, without a moment’s hesitation.” – Catherine Doherty
“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” – Pope Francis
“As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst… He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” – Teresa of Calcutta