From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
March 6 – First Sunday in Lent
Fear! Fear is the playground of the Satan! Fear is spawned by threats – real and imagined. They take control of our thoughts and emotions and build upon themselves. They take us into darkness and away from hope. Individually and as a nation / world, we have been confronted by so many events in the past two years that can lead us into the grips of fear. From the pandemic to our civil discords fueled by ever increasing acrimony from both sides of the political spectrum, to the fear of war spiraling out of control, we have lived under the cloud of these fears that can create anxiety and weaken our resolve. All the while, I dare say each of us has had our own personal confrontations with fear in our lives.
We enter into Lent with this as a backdrop. We are marked with ashes reminding us of our beginning and hear the words “repent, and believe in the Gospel!” On Sunday, through our Psalm we ask “be with me Lord, when I am in trouble!” 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 confront our fears and reflect on our sins – to really reflect upon those obstacles in our lives that keep us from fully committing to Christ. Satan tries to tempt Jesus at his time of greatest weakness to take him away from the Father. He plays upon our weaknesses as well. St. Paul reminds us though “what does scripture say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart…for if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It is in the Gospel where we find truth! It is Jesus who is the Gospel come alive! During these troubling times, it is He in whom we should place our trust. Jesus shows us how to confront fears, our demons and the temptations of Satan in our lives.
This Lent, let’s commit to place our fears and our demons in the hands of our Lord. We can replace our fears when we turn in prayer and trust toward God. The way of Jesus is to enter fully into prayer trusting always in the Father’s will. When we trust, fear is replaced by faith and faith leads to hope – hope fueled by God’s love! If we will turn our fears over to Him, he will lead us in the way of truth and out of distress; out of darkness, out of the desert, and into His care.
As Vincentians, one of our greatest challenges is to help others to overcome their fears as well. We meet people at a time when their lives are in turmoil and fear is gripping their hearts. We need to help them to see and feel the presence of God in their lives. God calls us to bring calm to their lives when they are in distress. He calls us to help them to believe in the Gospel by the way we embrace and live it in our lives as well. How do I set my fears aside that I can help others to overcome their fears? Am I able to place my trust fully in the Lord, growing in faith, and seeing the hope of His love? What demons do I still need to overcome in my life?
Lord Jesus, I pray this Lenten season that you will give me the courage to overcome the fears in my life. Help me to see past the turmoil that surrounds me in the world. Help me to enter into the desert with you, and allow me to place my trust fully in the Father’s will. Do not let me fall prey to the tricks of Satan. Grace me with the courage to help others overcome the distress in their lives that bring about fear and darkness. Use me that I might help them to see the light of your hope and love through the darkness of their fears. We ask all of this in your name! Amen