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 – Hosea 6:6.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
The paradox of our faith can be both subtle and blatant. Today’s reading is more blatant, telling us that God desires love, an interior and honest love of Him, rather than exterior sacrifices. He also tells us that He wants us to develop a deep knowledge of Him. Scripture is clear that we must know our faith; we must be able to give an account of our faith and that this is more important than any performance of rituals. This is a timely verse to ponder indeed especially considering that we are nearing the middle of Lent when sacrifices are in full-swing.
The point is clear, while sacrifices are important, they are indeed a part of the Christian journey, they are not more important than our interior position, our love and knowledge of God and our faith. In other words, what it all boils down to is whether or not we are following the first and primary priorities of God. Are we loving God with all of our heart and mind? Are we taking the time to learn His ways through Holy Scripture as well as the dogma, doctrine, and definitions 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 are not giving God our whole selves by truly loving Him and desiring Him above all else, 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, contemplate God’s request for you to love Him above everything else and to continuously know Him better by growing in knowledge of faith. What specifically could you do today to increase your devotion to Him? As you ponder this, consider also this quote by Saint Josemaria Escriva: “We all must have the faith of children [love for God], but the doctrine of theologians [knowledge of Him].”
Day 22 Lenten Meditation
Thirteenth-century mystic, Meister Eckhart, put so plainly what it is to fully love God: “If I could trust that You are enough I would know that I am enough.” When we boil down all the rules of faith, the Commandments, rituals, spiritual practices and devotions, etc., it all comes down to one thing: love. Love of God above all else. All that we do should come from our zealous love for God. Scripture reminds us that we love Him 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 your Heavenly Father. This is not only a great starting point for fulfilling God’s desire, it is also what true sacrifice is rooted in.
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 can be difficult to understand. But we know that humbling ourselves and walking in Your will 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, humbly confess your sins, and make a small list of ways you could grow in love of God and knowledge of the faith.
“Humility makes our lives acceptable to God; meekness makes us acceptable to men” –Saint Francis de Sales.