I’ve had three thoughts rumbling around in my mind this month that won’t let go. At first I didn’t think they had much in common, but now I see a common thread. That thread is Lent, and personal inspiration.
I really wanted to have a good Lent this year and create positive long-lasting change for myself. I didn’t start out strong at the gate. My actions felt a bit lackluster. It wasn’t until about the second week that I turned this around. It was then I found out that for Lent my wife committed to attend daily Mass. She has faithfully kept this up, and it inspired me. For myself I decided to add going to confession every two weeks or less. I am glad to say I have stuck to that. I now feel fully involved, and I have my wife to thank for that. By doing what she feels was right for herself, her actions have unknowingly inspired me. God Bless her.
The second thought is about perhaps the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard. During Lent there is much reference to Divine Mercy, particularly this year with the subject of the parish mission. When the subject of Divine Mercy comes up, I inevitably think of the Divine Mercy chaplet. When I think of the Divine Mercy chaplet, I always remember the first time I heard it. It was at Greg Eckert’s house, our council’s 2011 Family of the Year. There were several friends and seminarians present and we gathered around the living room to say the Divine Mercy chaplet. Instead of just saying it though, Greg’s daughters sang the chaplet accompanied by their guitar. Now mind you, I can’t hold a note worth beans, but in my mind song elevates the beauty of thought. Listening to those young ladies use their talent, offering a sincere and already beautiful prayer in communion with those in that room I was profundly moved. Simple, powerful emotion with no other way to be expressed than to manifest itself in a tear. Even today several years later when I feel particularliy close to God, the memory of that prayer often causes that emotion to well up within me still. Again, their action unknowingly inspiring me to this day.
Lastly, I ran across the following and it really laid out for me the esssence of Lent. It is the editorial in this year’s Magnificat Lenten Companion and is written by Father Peter John Cameron, o.p.
The directions on the packet of flower seeds read: “Seeds need darkness to germinate.” It makes me think of myself. I want to grow. I want to become more than I am. Yet, so often my self-guided efforts leave me feeling empty, looking for Something More. The “germination,” the better life that I seek, must start in darkness. Lent is that darkness. It is not something dreadful or depressing. Rather, Lent takes us back to what really matters in life. We return to the beginning. You are here. Why? Did you bring yourself about? Is your life a reward for some accomplishment? No. You have been loved into existence by Someone. Why would that Someone want to bring you into being? The answer to all the dissatisfaction and unrest we experience every day is to be found in the love that acted (and acts) to give you life. In the darkness of Lent we meet again this Someone whose love whispers to us, “It is necessary that you exist.” In that desire of the divine heart we discover our truest worth. Which sets us free. We belong to this One who constantly speaks to our wounded heart…who constantly calls us in our darkness to come out of our darkness. Lent is for leaving behind our distractions, our delusions. We go into the darkness of Christ’s tomb. What happens there to him will happen, too, to us.