Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Lent - God Sees and Transforms Our Hearts

“God does not see as human being see; they see the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” – 1 Sm 16:7

One of the most important lessons in life for me was to be honest with myself, to my parents, to God. For many reasons, I was very depressed at the end of college. I was living a double life. Outside, I was a model leader at church and at school. But inside, storms raged on secretly. Childhood wounds and deep fears became riotous. I could not decide between married life or the priesthood, to take a break from my girlfriend in order to truly explore a religious calling; I could not be honest that I did not want to be a doctor, that I pursued it mainly to please everyone, especially my dad. I misled my parents that I had graduated from college. Faith and trust in God like an insurmountable wall. Like Elsa in the movie Frozen, I struggled to “let it go.” I kept my fears and mistakes locked up. I relied on my self, on my own ability to good and be good. I did not understand that one is saved by grace, by the free gift of God.

While praying after a silent retreat, I was given a great grace. I was able to be utterly honest with God and with myself about everything that was going on without judging myself. Somehow, I let God see me clearly as I am. Initially, it felt neither consoling nor freeing. Yet, it changed my life. Gradually, I was able to face my parents, confessed how I had let them down, and uncovered the fears and lies that were overwhelming me. As things were being brought into the light, my parents taught me a lifelong lesson about love and forgiveness. They said, “Son, how foolish you are. We love you, not what you do.” Through them, God’s unconditional love flowed and was embraced by me. I was being taught to live more in truth. To get to the heart of the matter.

When we let the shadows and sins of who we are come before the light of God’s (or another’s) love, we are transformed. We are blinded at first. Accepting untruths about who we are, letting go of allusions about who God is and what love is, does not feel freeing at all. Yet, freedom and peace dawn slowly in our hearts and as we step into the light of truth.

“As you and I journey half way through Lent, what aspects of our lives and our relationships are we invited to be more honest with, to allow God’s light to shine upon?”

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