Thursday, February 7, 2013
by Sister Laura Zelten
Returning to our hearts is often difficult for us. It's too easy to get our hearts broken. But what if Lent is a time to return to our hearts and find comfort, strength and solace there?
It is interesting that this year Valentine's Day is the second day of Lent. For many of us, the word "Lent" connotes drab days, giving up things and a long, long time waiting for spring. Lent means many things, a time for repentance, a time for sacrifice, a time for preparing for Easter.
We often overlook another meaning -- the idea that Lent is an invitation to reconcile with God and with each other. Lent calls us to look into our hearts and see what is there and act from what we see. Lent is a season of the heart.
The Lenten scriptures, both the Hebrew Prophets and the New Testament, are our guides for the Lenten journey. They make a powerful point, one that our culture and society often forgets: It is the heart that matters. What is in our heart deeply influences our vision, our hearing and our actions.
On Ash Wednesday Christians everywhere are called to remember, repent and return. Through the symbol of ashes, we are asked to remember that we are of the earth, created by another, and will not walk the earth forever. We are asked to repent, to look at ourselves, to recognize what keeps us apart from God, and to return to the one who has created us.
Repentance, remembering, returning to God -- all of these begin in our hearts. None of these is an intellectual exercise. Returning to our hearts is often difficult for us. It's too easy to get our hearts broken. But what if Lent is a time to return to our hearts and find comfort, strength and solace there? What if Lent is a time to return to our souls and find our calling and our source of life? Is that what happened to Jesus when he was in the desert for 40 days? Can that happen to us during this season of Lent? Do we hear God calling, "Come back to me with all your heart!"
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