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Loved By God: Weekly Message for 03-21-2023
This week marks the beginning of Spring and the fourth week of Lent. Those cooped up all winter are anxious to get outside and breathe fresh air. For some, Lent has been a time of starts and stops as we struggled to stick to our Lenten promises. I found myself drawing parallels between the practice of spring cleaning and Lent as a type of spring cleaning for our souls.
In the spring, winter gravel and salt that found its way onto the garage floor is swept out. Dead branches, heavy and lifeless, are pruned from rose bushes and shrubs so new life can emerge freely. Flower beds and gardens are tilled to prepare the soil to receive new seed. In many ways, our Lenten observances of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are ways the Church invites us to prepare for a new springtime of grace; to prune our selfishness and prideful tendencies, sweep out our sins in the confessional and give away material things we collected beyond our need. We are encouraged to dust off our Bibles and allow the life of God, implanted in each one of us and nourished by our Baptism, to bring new life.
In the Gospel account of the Transfiguration, the Father’s voice is heard by the Apostles, “This is my beloved Son.” For us, Baptism is the moment when heaven opens, and the Father’s voice proclaims this is my beloved son or daughter. Objectively, we know the Catechism tells us this is true (CCC1213-1216). But subjectively, often the image we see in the mirror doesn’t seem very Christ-like. We see our failures, our limitations. We see our addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, gossip or lying. We see our shame for things we have done and for things done to us that we scarcely speak of. We listen to the enemy whispering in our ears—we don’t belong, we are unlovable, unredeemable. We come face to face with the same temptation Adam and Eve faced in the garden God doesn’t really love you.
The truth is GOD IS, WAS and Will ALWAYS BE. He is all powerful, all merciful, all loving. There is no half-way with God. He is all in, all the time. This is why Jesus came, to free us from the bonds of Original Sin. This is why we have Lent. So let us open the doors of our hearts, sweep out the voice of the enemy, relinquish our sin, go to confession and revel in the voice of God, “You are my beloved son. You are my beloved daughter. I came that you might have life and live with abundant grace.”
May the remaining weeks of our Lenten season be a source of interior peace that come from the assurance of knowing, without a doubt, how loved we all are by God.
Yours in the Heart of Jesus,