Thursday After Ash Wednesday
In these first few days of Lent, I know that there is a need for me to focus upon why I might need to bring about a change of heart in my life. If I am honest with myself and recognize that most of the sins that I bring to the Sacrament of Reconciliation are often "repeats," then there is a need for a change of heart. I need to sharpen my focus on the Kingdom of God and how I seek to incorporate that kingdom in my life, in all that I do throughout the year.
Where is this kingdom? Father Nouwen suggested four answers to reach the correct answer: (1) it is not a distant "escape" hide-a-way; (2) it is not life after death; (3) it is not creating the best of circumstances lifestyle; (4) it IS the Holy Spirit of God being present in my life. And, for sure, I will know that I am in Your kingdom when I sense the freedom that I seek along with all my sisters and brothers in this life.
But, to be realistic, how am I supposed to set my heart on Your kingdom when I am so busy with so many other things that demand so much of my time and energy each and every day?
This I do know from the many Lents I have walked through in my lifetime: turn my life completely to You and Your kingdom is no easy challenge. Just trying to change one or two of the habits that I have allowed to become a part of my life is not easy. How challenging are the simple diets when I want to shed a few pounds? How difficult it is to learn something as a new computer program! I am not a teenager any longer.
Like so many others who do want to bring about a change of heart, I, too, try to fool myself into thinking I can put it off until a later date or that I really don't need to make a change in my life. It is so much easier to play the games of avoidance or delay.
May these days of Lent and my time of prayer with You, Lord God, be for me a time of both renewal and change. Without Your graces, I know it will be difficult. Yet, too, I know that it can be easier if I truly trust You and Your goodness.