Thursday of the first week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
As we begin our penitential preparation for the Resurrection of our Lord, we must ask ourselves what we might let go of in our lives to better accept and receive the unconditional love of God. In this time of preparation, it is important to recognize that we are imperfect beings but made in God’s image. We stray from the path we know is right, and we allow obstacles and barriers to form between God and us. In my hectic college life, it is easy to skip Mass because of that paper due the next day or to spend time on Facebook rather than time in prayer. These decisions I make, though small, build into a habitual prevention of my letting go and giving myself fully to God. I put my relationship with God on the back burner and continue making countless mistakes, yet still I, like you, am saved. God is a “fool for love” in that way. Even though we may not deserve the salvation of Christ, we have it. This beautiful and loving mystery calls forth within us a spirit of sacrifice and of letting go on our own part this Lenten season.
“Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, oh Lord my God.” In a way, part of this sacrifice we make is sacrificing the societal need for self-control and independence in our own lives, and giving ourselves up, little by little, to God. The rhetoric commonly used around Lent of “giving something up” has connotations of independent self-control. When we accomplish our goals, we can pat ourselves on the back and compliment our self-control. But that is just the point: Lent is about losing that need for control.
“Now help me,” Esther cries out. She acknowledges her imperfection, her frailty, her need to give herself up to God and put herself in God’s hands. We are human and flawed, but even in the loneliest of times, we have God by our side. This acceptance of God allows us to strive for, as the Jesuits call it, Magis, or “ the more.” It is through the counter-cultural placement of our faith not only in ourselves, but ultimately in God. We need only ask for help, and open ourselves up to the God’s unending grace, and we shall receive it. There is great comfort knowing that we are not on our own, that we need only ask and we shall receive. By acknowledging our own limitations, our own shortcomings and faults and giving ourselves up to God, we can take the next step in accepting His love and become Magis, or more. “On the day I called for help, you answered me. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.” We have given ourselves up to God, our cries have been heard, and they have been answered. Now what a beautiful comfort that is.
David Gaillardetz is a Junior studying Social Work and Theology. He is an RA for the Diversity and Unity Learning Community on the 6th floor of Gries Complex and is on the executive board for Theology Club, The Encounter Retreat, Dumbledore’s Army, The Social Work Association, and the Rainbow Alliance.