The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create.
Day Twenty Three: Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent – Isaiah 65
“The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create” -Is 65:17.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Today’s reading from Isaiah is just as uplifting as it is confounding. We read the words and wish they could feel more true. Imagine if you could really forget all the past things that have hurt and still haunt you and instead just rejoice in the present? What a perpetual state of bliss that would be. Ironically, that is exactly what God is telling us to do in today’s Gospel.
So often we disregard divine wisdom and cling to our own emotions instead. Unfortunately, we will never truly enjoy life if we continue to do this – if we cling to past events and measure them to our present situation. Many years ago, the Irish rock band U2 wrote a song called Rejoice. One of the lyrics states, “I can’t change the world but I can change the world in me, if I rejoice.” This particular statement is so true. We may not be able to change the world at large, undo our past or predict the future, but we can change the world inside of us if we rejoice!
In order to change the world inside of us for the better, we must decide if we are going to curse our current situation or bless it by listening to God – the Creator of all things new – and obeying the Word by rejoicing in Him. Let us stop expecting everything and everyone around us to change and instead become the change we most seek. Let us also trust the process that God has set before us by obeying His Word and getting busy rejoicing!
Day 23 Lenten Meditation
Contemplate the world that lives within you now. What does it look like? Is it filled with unease, anxiety, anger and fear, or with light and peace, contentment and acceptance? It may change from day to day. Most of us cannot sustain light and peace twenty-four-seven but, if we begin to focus on what we can change as the famous Serenity Prayer says, accepting what we cannot change, we will slowly begin to move the needle toward more light on a more consistent basis. That requires some additional prayer time and spiritual work, but fortunately Lent is the perfect time for this. Sometime today, take fifteen minutes in total silence with God. Don’t worry about any specific prayer or thoughts … just be. Listen for the Lord to guide you, and He will.
Additional Readings Today
John 4:43-54; Isa 65:17-21
Spirit of God, speak to us in the silence that we seek with You today. Fill our hearts and minds with Your wisdom and let us feel Your presence as we try once again to step out in faith. We trust where our lives are today and where You are guiding us in the future, Lord. Give us the grace to let go of our past and instead rejoice in the new creation of the present situation and future. Above all Father, purify our hope that we might desire above all else Your Name to be hallowed and Your Kingdom and will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name, amen.
Today’s suggested penance
Reconnect with someone who was responsible for helping you grow in faith and tell them how much you appreciate them. Then spend 15 minutes listening for the Lord to direct you. Don’t forget to rejoice in His power that is at work in your life.
“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God, we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness” –St Charles Borromeo.