For it is love that I [God] desire…
Day Twenty Two of Lent: Saturday of the Third Week of Lent – Hosea 6
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings – Hos 6:6.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
The paradoxes of our faith can be both subtle and blatant. Today’s reading is more on the blatant side, telling us that God desires love, an interior and honest love of Him, rather than exterior “sacrifices” without it. God also tells us that He wants us to have knowledge of Him, to know our faith, over the performance of rituals. This is a timely verse to ponder especially considering that we are nearing the middle of Lent with sacrifices in full-swing.
It is tempting to wonder sometimes if we are not acting like the very people we were warned against. Should we follow the spiritual “rules” or should we not? What it really boils down to is whether or not we are following the first priorities of God or not. Are we loving God with all our heart and mind? Are we taking the time to learn His ways and the dogmas of our Christian faith? If so, then our Lenten sacrifices will no doubt bear much fruit. If, however, we partake in all the Lenten rituals but do not give God our whole heart by consistently loving and learning Him, then sacrifices of any kind will do little to no good.
As you prayerfully allow this season of Lent to guide you through an honest reflection of your spiritual walk, really think about God’s request for you to love and to know Him better. Starting today, what could you do to increase this devotion? As you ponder that question, consider also this quote by Saint Josemaria Escriva: “We all must have the faith of children [love of God], but the doctrine of theologians [knowledge of Him].”
Day 22 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 fully love God. When we boil down all “the rules” – the Commandments, the rituals, spiritual practices, etc. – it all comes down to one thing: love. Love of God. All that we do should come from our zealous love for God … and we love, because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). As you think about the passage from today’s reading, meditate on all the reasons you love the Lord. This is not only a great starting point for fulfilling God’s desire … it’s what true sacrifice is all about.
Additional Readings for Today
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 that are often difficult to understand. But we know that humbling ourselves and walking in Your ways is the only way to true peace and joy in our lives. Give us the grace to love You as You love us – without limit and without condition. While You do this, Father, grant us the grace of repentance wherever we have fallen short. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name, 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.