First Sunday of Lent
Remembering the many Lents I have “lived through” I am aware that I have changed. From the Lents of fasting and abstinence (with the added penance of giving up chocolate!) to new understandings of fasting and doing rather than merely refraining, the one reality that looms in my face is that by now I should be nearing perfection! Yet, as another Lent begins, I am painfully aware that is not true. Maybe that is why I was drawn to these words in the First Letter of Peter for the first Sunday of Lent, “while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark….” What an awesome picture of God: the One who patiently waits for us to build our ark; to become the inclusive face of God to all we meet. May I suggest that God is patient because God is also stubborn; just like a stubborn parent who refuses to give up on a wayward child; just like a stubborn shepherd who insists on finding the lost sheep. The one reality that we need to face is that God’s patience is not based on what we do or who we are becoming; God is patient because God is stubbornly in love with us.
Let us pray:
O God, I abandon myself into your loving care. I hang onto you as my protector, my companion, my friend. I believe that you are always with me. If I make a decision that hinders my growth, you will gently coax me into conversion; when I fail, you will stay with me until I find my way. When I insist on saying “no” you will entice me into an absolute “yes.” When I try to hide from you or when I run away, you will pursue me with your alluring persuasions. Like Jeremiah I will finally surrender: “Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed.” (Jeremiah 20:7) At long last, I will discover that you, O God of unconditional love, are the stubborn One! (Prayer from Chapter 8 in Second Childhood: Aging into Divine Relationship.)