Monday, February 20, 2012
I'm back from my annual winter trip to the Caribbean with some friends. This year we stayed at a great house on St. Lucia that had this striking view of the Atlantic. I never got tired of meditating on the way these mountains, in the soft light of dawn, slid so gracefullly down into the ocean.
Now back in the hills of home, I am experiencing a soft winter, as I prepare for Ash Wednesday and Lent. One of the phrases that the priest can use when he puts ashes on our heads this Wednesday is "Repent and believe in the Good News." This is among the first things that Jesus says in Mark's Gospel. We heard the passage a month ago and we will hear it again this coming Sunday.
When I hear "Repent" the first thought that comes to mind is "Be sorry for your sins." The Greek word that is translated "repent," however, has a much broader meaning. It involves changing our hearts, changing our minds, changing our lives.
That's what Lent is for. Whatever I choose to do during Lent is meant to start me on a new way of living, something that will continue and grow after Lent is over. I don't want to give us something for Lent and then take it up again at Easter.
The most important resolution I can make is to get to know and love God better. I want to put myself at God's disposal so God can help me grow in my understanding of who and what God is. As that begins to happen, I can't continue to relate to God the way I used to. Prayer changes. Love grows. It's God's work. I will try to make my prayer the first words of a Lenten hymn, "Change our hearts this time."