From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
February 21 – First Sunday in Lent
We enter into Lent. Each Lent we are afforded the unique opportunity to join Jesus in the desert. It is a time for renewal – a time to change behaviors – a time to correct course. It is a time to reflect on our sins – to really reflect upon those obstacles in our lives that keep us from fully committing to Christ. Through fasting and abstinence we cleanse ourselves. It changes our routine and brings us more focus. By spending time contemplating God, reflecting upon Jesus, and renewing the commitments we made in baptism; we prepare ourselves to make choices of the soul, rather than choices of convenience. We owe it to ourselves to do this. We need to confront the demons within us, the sins that get hidden below the surface. We need to see sin in its true aspect, and see who Christ is for us. Our Psalm reminds us that “your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.” Jesus shows us how to confront our demons and the temptations of Satan in our lives. Satan tries to trick us by offering choices that appear appealing to us, just as he did to both Adam and to Jesus. The way of Jesus though is to enter fully into prayer keeping His focus always on the Father’s will. In humility, He came to us, in humility He loves us and takes our sins upon himself, and in humility He bows to the Father and rejects Satan. We are invited to “Repent and believe in the gospel (Jesus)!”
As Vincentians, Lent also affords us the opportunity to reflect upon our attitudes, motivations and interactions with those we serve. It is easy for us to lose sight of our purpose (grow in holiness) and our means (by seeking the face of Christ in those we serve). We can become jaded by our work, and it is important to on occasion take a step back, look at our relationship with God, the promises we made in Baptism, and how we bring those two things into one. Just as Jesus invited us into the desert with him to reflect upon the decisions we have made in life, we have an opportunity to journey with others as they address the challenges and demons in their lives. We can show them the love and mercy of God through our actions, and help them to seek His will for their lives that they too may come to “believe in the gospel!” Do I have right attitudes when dealing with those in need? Am I seeking and finding the presence of God in them? Do I listen for and to the will of God in all that I do? Do I help others to see God’s will for their lives through humility and prayer?
Lord Jesus, allow me to journey to the dessert with you. Help me to correct attitudes that are not helpful to filling up with your love. Fill me with humility, selflessness, patience, and gentleness as I do your work. Give me passion that I may bring your presence to others at the same time I find it in them. We pray all of this in your name. Amen