Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not;
See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.
Lent begins February 25th this year, opening a 40 day sacred journey which calls us to renewal and change of heart. My memories of this season as a child often centered on giving up sweets or a commitment to treat my brothers and sisters better. As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the Lenten exhortation to re-form my live anew according to the Gospel, doing so as Christians across the world enter in the same process. I have found there is power in shared purpose, in doing something personally while held in the support and accountability of a collective commitment; this is one of the gifts of religious life or a faith community.
Turning anew to God embraces turning from what distracts and blocks being in right relationship with God, neighbor, or God’s gift of creation. This Lent I’m especially mindful of bringing closure to what is ‘unfinished’ in my life. I find it is hard to see or perceive what is new when my life is cluttered within or too busy without.
Scripture is filled with encouragement for this journey. For example, the psalmist in psalm 51:12 prays: A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit. I join in the psalmist’s intention of opening to God’s work of clearing or cleaning the heart, of strengthening in spirit. Perhaps Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of “The Little Prince”, knew of the importance of a clean heart when he wrote:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Helped by the Spirit of God alive within and among us, let us turn from seeing and acting as usual, and turn toward seeing with a clear heart and perceiving with new eyes. Let us as individuals and collectively pay attention to the “something new” that God is doing in our midst. Let us take time this Lent in prayer opening ourselves to being changed in heart, to seeing more clearly, perceiving new life and tending to it in action. So may it be!