For it is love that I [God] desire…
Day 25: Saturday of the Third Week of Lent – Hosea 6:6
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Additional Reading(s) today: Luke 18:9-14
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Sometimes the paradoxes of our faith are subtle and other times, as in today’s Gospel reading, they are more blatant. We are now nearing the middle of Lent so sacrifices are in full swing … and there are plenty more to come. We give things up and give things away, and faithfully follow spiritual “rules” that guide this season. Today’s readings may tempt some to wonder if we are not acting like the very people we are warned against. So, let us take a closer look. The question becomes, should we sacrifice or not? Follow the “rules” of the spiritual path or go rogue? In both instances, it comes down to humbly allowing ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of the law. Ask yourself if you are approaching God with love and an open mind or with self-righteous piety and pride? How are we approaching His children, our neighbor? With love or arrogance? Are we so spiritually sure of ourselves that we resist the need to learn, to grow, to stand at a distance of God and His Word in awe — knowing that we have so much more to learn? Are we following His will or our own? What God actually wants from us is much simpler than what we could try and construct for ourselves. At the center of it, God wants our hearts. He wants us to be “like little children,” possessing a childlike love, devotion and faith in all matters of the faith. Are we traveling through Lent trusting and obeying God rather than our own will? It is much easier to follow the ways of the Lord when we let go of our own judgement and freely love and worship Him.
Day 25 Lenten Meditation
“If I could trust that You are enough I would know that I am enough.” Thirteenth-century mystic Meister Eckhart put so plainly what it is to love (and trust) God. We are enough. You are enough, and all that God requires of us is wrapped in love. When we boil down all “the rules” — the Commandments, the rituals, spiritual practices, etc. — they all come down to one thing: love. Love of God. All that we do must come from our love for God. And sometimes it seems almost too easy to be true. Love God? That’s it? Yes. When we love God, everything in our lives will begin to change, and we will naturally and willingly begin to follow His will. Everything we do and think will be rooted it love and thus make more sense. The key is to love and obey God even when we don’t understand. In so doing, everything else will fall into place.
God of infinite love, it can be challenging to understand all that we are called to do; to love those who don’t love us, to love those who hurt us, to love in the face of hate; to blindly trust and follow Commands and spiritual practices. But we know that humbling ourselves and walking in Your ways is the only way to true peace and joy in our lives. Teach us to love as You love us, without limit and without conditions. While You do this, Heavenly Father, we ask that You reveal all our hidden and blatant hypocrisies and grant us the grace of repentance. Amen.
Today’s suggested penance
*Conduct a full examination of conscience and then humbly confess your sins.
“Humility makes our lives acceptable to God; meekness makes us acceptable to men” –Saint Francis de Sales.