This Lent- Let yourself be
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
This year for Lent, I did not feel prepared - at all.
I am a doer by nature, give me a task, give me a problem to solve, give me steps to follow, this is where I am most in my element.
So, like everything in my life, I approach Lent in the same way, as an opportunity to do, to follow some method, to solve some problem in my soul, to become a better Catholic, a better Christian.
However this Lent so far is turning out to be very different.
Before Lent I came before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and I asked Him the same question I ask Him every year Lent comes around- Jesus what do you want me to do?
What book do you want me to read?
What new devotion should I pick up?
What podcast should I listen to?
What penance should I begin?
However, Jesus never replied.
Ash Wednesday came and went , still I had no clue what I was supposed to “do”.
Since I wasn’t going to get a “personal to do list” I resorted to the usual Lenten to dos.
I gave up chocolate, deleted social media, resorted to a vegetarian diet etc but still in my heart I felt that I should be "doing" more.
A week after Ash Wednesday, again I asked Jesus when I came before Him in the Blessed Sacrament- Jesus what do you want me to do?
And this time (finally) He spoke loud and clear into my heart but the answer was not what I was expecting.
This is what I heard:
I want you to be.
I did not make you a human doing, I made you a human being.
My child I want you to be..
I want you to be mine
I want you to be silent
I want you to be more attentive to my voice
I want you to be in my presence
I want you to just be
Stop hiding behind all the things you are doing and come before me, me your Lord and just be.
His words resonated deep within my soul, and I felt an immense amount of peace.
In the planning of my “perfect Lent” I had forgotten what Lent was really about.
Lent wasn’t about me, or my personal to do list.
Lent wasn’t about out doing myself in the amount and nature of devotions and fasts I embark on, so that I could feel holy.
Lent is about Jesus, not about accomplishing or succeeding spiritually.
It isn’t a personal competition.
It is a season for me to face and encounter the ugliness of my brokenness and sinfulness in light of a beautiful Saviour.
How often do we go through the entire season of Lent and never “encounter” our brokenness?
Its so much easier sometimes to hide behind the beautiful devotions and rituals of our Church than face the pain and messiness of our sin and brokenness.
We believe the lie that we’re too much, we’re too messy or dirty for Jesus to deal with.
Somehow before coming to Jesus we have to solve the problem of our sin or our brokenness and present ourselves to Jesus already cleaned up, already holy and saved.
We believe the lie that it’s on us. We have to figure out this salvation thing.
We don’t always do it intentionally, many times it is subconscious.
Sometimes without even realizing it we believe the lie prevalent in our society that as a human person we are the captain of our own ship, the maker of our own fate and the only master of our souls.
If we believe any of this whether we know it or not, it can be a huge barrier to accepting the saving grace God is offering to us for true healing and change.
This is why one of the most courageous and powerful things you can do this Lent, is to allow yourself to simply be with Jesus.
Allow Him to reveal the messy, broken, shameful areas of your heart.
When Jesus does this, it is never to discourage you or make you despair but it is to point you to the cross.
Yes you are broken, yes you are a sinner but what He did on the first Good Friday was enough, more than enough for all your past, present and future sins.
The shift in mentality from “I can do it” to “Jesus did it” is such an important one for me this Lent.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t make sacrifices, don’t fast or try to grow closer to God through prayer and alms giving.
The key is to remember why we are engaging in these practices.
In truth the Church in her wisdom gave us these three (3) methods, prayer, fasting and alms giving as the exact way for us, “to encounter our brokenness and weakness”.
I realize now that instead of it having this effect on me, engaging in these beautiful spiritual practices became a way for me to make myself feel holy or successful for Lent.
If you feel like your “failing” this Lent or if you’re discouraged and dissatisfied with how its going, I want to encourage you to focus on being with Jesus.
This first and foremost is paramount.
Jesus, remember doesn’t need your doing.
The reason Lent exists, the reason you should engage with this season is because He wants your heart.
This scripture verse says it all:
"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love