THE INVITATION TO LENT: God's Invitation




Lent is a season of being invited by God in a deeply personal way. “Come back to me, with all of your heart,” our Lord beckons. "We will," we respond, but we aren’t quite ready yet, our hearts are not prepared. We want to squirm, evade, avoid. Our souls not yet perfect.
We are not ready for God to love us.

Yes, of course we want to have a deeper relationship with God, we tell ourselves earnestly.
And we will….Soon. God calls to us again: Come back to me, with all of your heart.

Ok, ok, I really will. Just a few more things to do at work. Let me spend a little more time in prayer first. Let me get to Reconciliation. Let me clean my oven, tidy my closets. Sell my yoke of oxen. Check a field I have purchased….

Come back to me, with all of your heart.

It is an extraordinary invitation to each one of us. To me in a personal, individual way. God invites me to drop the defenses that I hold up between myself and God. All God wants is for me to realize that my standards, my way of judging and loving are so very different from God’s way, and so much smaller. God offers an entire Lent season, an entire lifetime, of loving me unconditionally, no matter what I have done or how much I think I have hidden from God.

From the first day of Lent, the Ash Wednesday readings make God's call to us clear: “Return to me with your whole heart.”

“A clean heart create for me, O God,” Psalm 51 offers. “Give me back the joy of your salvation.” That is exactly what our loving God wants to give us, the joy of salvation.

In North America, Lent falls in winter and these days are cold and dark, perfect for hiding ourselves indoors, perfect for hiding from God - or so we imagine. But our God is insistent, loving, gently prodding. God is the parent of the Prodigal Child, waiting faithfully, eagerly on the road for our return, night after night. There are no folded arms and stern judging stares, only the straining eyes of a parent eager for our return, longing to embrace us and rejoice in us.

Yet we spend so much time trying to think of how to return and what to say, how to begin the conversation. It’s only when we finally appear after so much time away, embarrassed and confused, that we understand we don’t have to say anything. We only have to show up.
Return of the Prodigal Son, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, National Gallery, Washington, DC

Look up there on the road ahead of us: our loving God is jumping up and down for joy. The invitation to us has been heard. We have returned home!

But, wait... What stops us from this great reunion? What keeps us from accepting this invitation to something deeper in our lives with God? We feel in our hearts that there are things we should say first: “wait…but…if only” and finally, “If God really knew about me…”

It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. Only the joy that we have turned to God and that like a loving father or mother, God is smothering us with embraces and joyful cries. We have returned!

Come back to me, with all of your heart.

Our acceptance of this call, this appeal to our hearts is simple if we can only get beyond the fear.
All we have to do is say to our Lord, "I'm here. Where do I start? Yes, I want to be with you."
Our hearts have been opened and we have taken the first step toward the rejoicing parent on the road. No explanations are necessary, only to pause and picture in our hearts the joyfully loving and unblinking gaze of God that falls on us.

What's the next step on our journey home? We could take the earliest moments of our day, before we have gotten out of bed to thank God for such a loving invitation and ask for help in opening our hearts to it. We could read about beginning our Lenten patterns. We could remember throughout the day the invitation that has moved our hearts: Come back to me, with all of your heart. And we can rejoice along with God.

That is the invitation of each day of Lent. Today is the day to accept it.





by: http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent/invitation.html





 

 

 

 

 

March 18: Fifth Sunday of Lent 
Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan
Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was from ...to be continued

 

March 18: Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the Gospel of John. We are reading much further into John’s Gospel than we ...to be continued

 

March 11: Fourth Sunday of Lent 
Andy Alexander, S.J.
Today is Laetare Sunday, so named because the Introit or Entrance Antiphon begins with the word “Rejoice” (Laetare) ...to be continued

 

March 11: Fourth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
The fourth Sunday of Lent is sometimes called Laetare Sunday. Laetare is a Latin word that means “rejoice.” Traditionally ...to be continued

 

March 4: Third Sunday of Lent 
Molly Mattingly There are ...to be continued

 

March 4: Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
In today’s Gospel we read ...to be continued

 

February 25: Second Sunday of Lent
Amy Hoover As I reflected on ...to be continued

 

February 25: Second Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
On the second Sunday of Lent ...to be continued

 

February 18: First Sunday of Lent
Andy Alexander, S.J.
After the big flood, God ...to be continued

 

February 18: First Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
On the first Sunday of Lent, the ...to be continued

 

February 14: Ash Wednesday
Dick Hauser, S.J. Who are we? ...to be continued

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT LENT AND LENTEN PRACTICES
Why do we say that there are ...to be continued

 

 

PROPOSALS FOR MEDITATION - We want to offer spiritual texts, which can be of help to nourish our faith and strengthen our life in Christ: they are an opportunity to compare our experience with that of Christian witnesses 'old' and contemporary.

We keep the coming feast of the Lord through deeds, not words - Saint Athanasius
Christ offered himself for us - St. Fulgentius of Ruspe
"Interview between Jesus and Nicodemus" - Daniella Zsupan-Jerome
Christ is the way to the loght, the truth and the life - Saint Augustine

Christ the high priest makes atonement for our sins - Origen, priest
All human activity is to find its purification in the paschal - Gaudius et Spes
The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came ... - St. Leo the Great
Christ and Moses - St. John Chrysostom
God's Invitation
How to find time in the day for Lent
Lent through the lens of grace
Lent: repent - Saint Clement, pope

 

 

 

 

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