Separated only by a day, both Lent and Valentine’s Day began almost hand in hand this year. Two days where love is remembered and celebrated. Often two very different views of love, but love still the same.
Similar to the first of the year, Lent often brings promises of resolutions; how we will take this time to grow and improve and dig a little deeper to understand God’s love for us.
I began my Lent, like many other Catholics, going to Mass yesterday and receiving ashes upon my forehead. The homily spoke of what receiving ashes means – a sign to the world that we are sinners. Father compared it to writing all of our sins upon our forehead for others to see. That image stuck with me; it’s easy to have a cross of ashes smeared across my forehead, but what if I actually had to wear all of my shortcomings there for everyone to see?
Acknowledging our sinful nature and taking on the responsibility of those sins is exactly what we are called to do during Lent. To focus on those shortcomings and bring them to the surface. Recognize them and dig deeper to figure out how we can begin to work on them, then ask for God’s grace to improve. Basically, recognizing that we’ve moved away from our relationship with God and wish to draw closer to Him once again.
The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and alms giving. These are all ways in which we turn the focus away from ourselves and the things that distract us from what God intends for our life.
I haven’t thought much about what I would give up this Lent, I’m actually still working on that. Perhaps it is too difficult, because I have too many distractions to choose from. I have a lot of work to do and I’m grateful for a loving and very patient God, who simply waits for me to open the door of my heart.
I know everything about you … Psalm 139:1
I knew you even before you were conceived … Jeremiah 1:4-5
I knit you together in your mother’s womb … Psalm 139:13
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love … 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you … 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your father … Matthew 7:11
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand … James 1:17
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope … Jeremiah 29:11
For you are my treasured possession … Exodus 19:5
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you … Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart … Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes … Revelation 21:3-4
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth … Revelation 21:3-4
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled … 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you … 1 John 4:10
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again … Romans 8:31-32
I have always been Father, and will always be Father … Ephesians 3:14-15
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen … Luke 15:7
Your Abba Almighty God