Happy Lent...

Hello Lenten People!

Just wanted to wish you all a happy Lent and assure you of my prayers as we journey together through these 40 days of conversion.

If you haven't read the Holy Father's message for Lent this year, PLEASE do so. It ROCKS! it's only 4 pages long and readily understandable. It is deep and profound and will give you much to ponder during this time.

The bottom line is this: God loves us and wants to free us from the obstacles that we place in the way of His passionate love. We are made His children in Baptism, we are made for resurrection and life. We are made for greatness.

As I was pondering this morning- a few thoughts came to my mind. Perhaps one of the best things we can do and grow in during Lent is to go to Jesus free of our masks, deceptions and desires to impress everyone, and just come before Him with no facades and say to Him "Jesus, please show me who I really am."

Do we really know who we are? For if we do (and when I speak of "knowing", I am not only referring to intellectual knowledge but also the experience of the heart and soul) then we will live differently.

Living differently takes much practice. Change takes much practice.

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of playing volleyball with an awesome group of people. We were playing reverse 4's and the competition was good. The serves coming at us were tough and for some reason, in a whole new way, memories of many college volleyball practices came to mind.

If you play any sport, you know that fundamentals are the most important and so you practice fundamentals over and over and over again, ad nauseam.

At the time of practice, you are saying (hopefully just to yourself) "this is SO boring, I would rather be (hitting, dunking, teeing off, or whatever more glamorous part of the sport there is) why do I have to do this tedious, little thing OVER AND OVER AGAIN?!?"

But last night, as I was passing volleyballs things materialized in my mind in a new way. Because I realized that  if I hadn't all that practice in college, all those years of fundamentals and drills, I would have never been able to pass those balls last night, it would have been way too difficult. But since those fundamentals were so impressed into me, even though I have been out of college for many, many years- the lessons and muscle memory came back when I needed it.

Thank God for tedious, little things- for they end up forming us in deep ways and save us on many occasions.

Hence we have Lent. Many people may say, "LENT AGAIN ?!? come on. Why do we have to do this every year? Every year it's the same old thing."

But this is an illusion, for we are not linear people- as in, we do not grow and heal linearly. We grow and heal cyclically. Every time life and fundamentals and liturgical seasons cycle around, we grow more deeply. Lent really isn't designed to suck the life out of us, its a time for renewal, deeper thought and a deeper turning toward the One who loves us.

If we can only open our hearts or pray for the willingness to open our hearts a little more, Jesus comes in and fills us. As we release resentment and bitterness, serenity and compassion comes in. As we cast aside lust and power, authentic love and humility pour forth within our hearts and souls.

What a marvelous exchange.

So, who are you?

You're about to find out.

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