Jesus wants to be found by those who are looking for Him. But to look for Him we have to get up and go out. These two sentences from Pope Francis open up the truth of holy Lent for us. Let’s look at the spiritual power of these two sentences.
Jesus wants to be found: A Saint for our day, Mother Teresa taught the world that Jesus longs for us...He thirsts for you and me...for our hearts, for our obedient love. Do we really get this? The mystery of God, known through the relational love of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, this living love that is God thirsts for you and me...for this is the nature of God, Who Is love.
But, are we really looking for Jesus? Those of you that have taken the time to read this March edition of my Vine and Branches column...yes, you are looking for Him. But in this search, this heart seeking Heart, remember both the teaching of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Pope Francis. Mother Teresa reminds us that this thirst of Christ the Lord for us is readily recognized...revealed...in the cry of the poorest of the poor: their nakedness is His nakedness; their hunger is His hunger; their suffering under oppression and injustice and racism and addiction and evil is His suffering (Matthew 10:42 and 25:31-46). If we do not respond as best we are able, to the cry of the poor and the oppressed and the forgotten...we are not truly looking for Christ the Lord...who identifies Himself with the broken ones in this throw-away culture of 2018.
Holy Lent is a time for spiritual introspection...for looking to speak the truth about ourselves: who we are and who we hope to be. Holy Lent offers you and me...through the disciplines of intensified prayer, the bodily prayer of fasting and almsgiving...a capacity to seek the Lord...by getting up and going out as Pope Francis urges us. How so?
Prayer and fasting and almsgiving...these disciplines...break the ingrained habits that dull our hearts, the way we often make the gift of life a boring routine. YES, in our repentance, we are called as every follower of Jesus is called...to renounce every sinful habit and every sinful inclination. Of course...but repentance means more than saying NO to the habits of self-centeredness, the sins of pleasing only ourselves, saying NO to the temptations of the Enemy of our human nature. Repentance is also saying YES to God’s love for us, YES to the Father’s gift of His Son and the Way of Life He offers us, YES to the indwelling Spirit that we have been given.
Through the gifts given by the Lord, these disciplines of Lent allow us a new freedom (from habit and self-centeredness and boredom)...so that we might see and hear and experience the thirst of Christ the Lord for us...under the disguise of the poor seeking a helping hand, the oppressed longing for freedom and recognition... those isolated and lonely judged by our thrown away as useless. When we seek out and embrace those that have been lost, we satiate the thirst of Christ...as we embrace Him in our loving care of neighbor.
Jesus wants to be found by those who are looking for Him. But to look for Him we have to get up and go out. AMEN.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For The Greater Glory of God)