Straight are the paths of the Lord,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.
Day Twenty One of Lent: Friday of the Third Week of Lent – Hosea 14
“Straight are the paths of the Lord, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them” – Hosea 14:10.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
If you have ever gone hiking you probably know that the straight path is not necessarily the easiest or best path forward. A steep incline ahead could potentially leave you gasping for breath. Rocks or fallen logs could require tricky maneuvering. An unexpected stream could mean you would have to turn back altogether.
The paths of the Lord mentioned in today’s first reading call to mind those challenging and oftentimes uncertain paths. We have all experienced moments when our sure footing was pulled out from under us; when we found ourselves in complete darkness praying for God’s help. When we find ourselves in this situation, it is usually because we have lost our close connection to God and varied from the path He’s laid out for us. Maybe it is that we have not been making time for Mass or daily prayer – two key factors in being able to walk and remain on the narrow path. Or perhaps we have not been loving God with our whole mind and heart as we should, instead placing Him as a last priority.
When God is not our first priority, it is oftentimes because we are putting ourselves – our own wants, desires, and plans – before God. We get caught up in the world and in our own planning. This is precisely when the fog rolls in, distorting our vision and perception. The way forward slowly becomes unclear and confusing and, suddenly, the incline feels insurmountable. However, if we are faithful to following the divine map laid out for us in Holy Scripture (as well as in Tradition) we will not lose our way. And if we do lose our way by not following the will of God, re-aligning ourselves on the divine pathway as soon as possible, as narrow and as unpredictable as it may seem, will help us to regain our footing once again.
Day 21 Lenten Meditation
During your journey through this year’s Lent, ask yourself what spiritual mountain you are now scaling. Take a fresh look at the path set before you. Are you on the narrow path of God and allowing Him to lead the way? Or are you on the wide path of the world, deciding what’s best for yourself? Reassessing the path you are currently on and, through prayer, making any adjustments necessary in order to re-align yourself to the will of God will give you clarity once again helping you to navigate the uncertain and unpredictable way forward.
Additional Readings Today
Lord, please walk with us along the narrow path. The road ahead often seems uncertain and difficult. But amidst the confusion, we trust our true Northern Star to lead the way. We pray for the grace of discernment and courage during this time, the virtues that will help lead us forward when difficulties make us want to turn and head the other way. Loving Father, grant that we may always trust in Your will and love for us, and allow that love to work in us and transform us. It is in Your good and holy Name we trust. Amen.
Today’s suggested penance
Fast from television or some other form of amusement such as social media for the next 24 hours.
“A hidden flower is the most fragrant. I must strive to make the interior of my soul a resting place for the Heart of Jesus” –Sister Faustina.
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