Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday: God Longs for Us to Embrace Love

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Cor 6:2

“Return to me with your whole heart.”– Joel 2:12

The more deeply we love, the more we long to be with those we love. God is similar, except infinitely more so. God’s love for us does not depend on our looks, intelligence, performance, success, popularity, or faithfulness. God does not love us more if we make good choices, get better, or even come back to God. Yet, the more we embrace ourselves as loved without condition, the more we will grow, get better, become transformed.

God invites us through the Lenten journey to make greater space in our hearts and lives so that the unconditional love of God that is already offered can take greater root and bear fruit in our lives. The disciplines of fasting (from what does not give live or promote justice), almsgiving (sharing our time, care, and resources), and prayer (attentiveness to God) are about setting some time and space apart so that we can come to realize more deeply God’s longing for us and to discover greater God’s dream for our lives. We are invited to enter the desert of our inner landscape to acknowledge any area of unfreedom and resistance and allow God’s unconditional love to transform us.

Lent is this acceptable time … God who longs to come closer … for us to make room, embracing ourselves as loved beyond our wildest imaginings and treat others likewise. Let us enter this Lenten time of spiritual renewal with a desire for meaningful transformation.

How will you respond to this longing of God, this desire to be loved more radical than before?

A suggestion for daily prayer/reflection:

1. Relax. Take 5 deep breaths. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Ask for the grace to listen.

3. Read the reflection slowly and pay attention to what stirs within you.

4. Speak and listen to God about what is happening within.

5. Rest in God who rests in you. Express gratitude when you finish.

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