” . . . we are used to seeing ourselves as the world sees us–broken, struggling, failing, and frustrated. But when God looks at you, an eternal and boundless love wells up inside him and he sees past every doubt, every fear, everything you think is shameful or broken about you. When God looks at you, he sees something more beautiful, remarkable, and amazing than you could ever even wrap your head around. In the words of St. John Paul the Great, ‘We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son’ (Pope John Paul II, 2002).”
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.
Another picture that our Lord loves to use is that of the shepherd who goes out to look for the sheep that is lost. So long as we imagine that it is we who look for God, then we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about: he is looking for us. And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from him, in high rebellion against him. And he knows that and has taken it into account. He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape from him, we run straight into his arms.
So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us hope of salvation. Our hope is in his determination to save us. And he will not give in! This should free us from that crippling anxiety which prevents any real growth, giving us room to do whatever we can do, to accept the small but genuine responsibilities that we do have. Our part is not to shoulder the whole burden of salvation, the initiative and the program are not in our hands: our part is to consent, to learn how to love him in return whose love came to us so freely while we were quite uninterested in him. (Simon Tugwell, O.P.)
Sometimes we just get fixated on the wrong things during Lent. Or perhaps a better way to say it is: distracted by things different than God wants us to focus on. Or we just get discouraged. I found this advice by Marge Fenelon to be excellent and very helpful for me. Hopefully for you as well.
Relaxing into Lent
As a little girl, I was extremely melancholic, to the point of finding myself every so often sinking into bouts of sadness or loneliness. Sometimes, I’d just feel “lost” for seemingly no reason at all. Nothing was ever truly wrong but at the same time, nothing was ever truly right, either.
Sure, there were things that could have had me down – my dad’s heart condition, the occasions of family discord, or the solitariness of being the youngest child who trails her siblings by several years. Our house certainly could get quiet and lonely at times. Yet, there was never anything I could directly relate it to. In fact, all these years later, I still can’t figure out the cause of those sensations. They were sudden, and they were strong. That’s all I know.
Written for a Jewish wedding, but still true for every one of us.
Sung at a Jewish wedding, this song is not a typical wedding song. It gives you a new perspective on the holiness of marriage according to Judaism. Jewish tradition teaches that when a man and a woman unite in matrimony, G-d Himself joins them and that the union is holy. The words to this song, a bit melancholy for a joyous Jewish wedding, are truly meaningful and embody the soul of a Jewish marriage – faith.
“..Even on the days when I “forgot” you You were always in my life In all the ways that I went You have been a guiding light. I was blind. I could not see beyond what my eyes were focused on
Chorus: King, the King of all Kings – Thank you for life For happiness for tears and Laughter
Even when it’s hard sometimes, even then, you are my G-d.
You are never far.”
Armando cannot walk or talk and is very small for his age. He came to us from an orphanage where he had been abandoned. He no longer wanted to eat because he no longer wanted to live cast off from his mother. He was desperately thin and was dying of lack of food. After a while in our community where he found people who held him, loved him, and wanted him to live, he gradually began to eat again and to develop in a remarkable way. He still cannot walk or talk or eat by himself, his body is twisted and broken, and he has a severe mental disability, but when you pick him up, his eyes and his whole body quiver with joy and excitement and say: “I love you.” He has a deep therapeutic influence on people. . . .
What [many people] do not always know is that they have a well deep inside of them. If that well is tapped, springs of life and of tenderness flow forth. It has to be revealed to each person that these waters are there and that they can rise up from each one of us and flow over people, giving them life and a new hope.
That is the power of Armando. In some mysterious way, in all his brokenness, he reveals to us our own brokenness, our difficulties in loving, our barriers and hardness of heart. If he is so broken and so hurt and yet is still such a source of life, then I too am allowed to look at my own brokenness, and to trust that I too can give life to others. I do not have to pretend that I am better than others and that I have to win in all the competitions. It’s O.K. to be myself, just as I am, in my uniqueness. That, of course, is a very healing and liberating experience. I am allowed to be myself, with all my psychological and physical wounds, with all my limitations but with all my gifts too. And I can trust that I am loved just as I am, and that I too can love and grow.
His banner over you is LOVE, not all the many words you might think are written there: failure, lazy, fat, disappointment . . . you fill in the blank. His banner over you is LOVE and always will be LOVE. Think on that.