(Sorry Julie, I had to use your song title for my blog post…it fit so well!)
Although Lent is still a few weeks away, this blog has been sitting on my heart. I had been toying with writing it early, but kept telling myself it’ll still be there when Ash Wednesday hits (on Valentine’s Day……how ironic!) But I couldn’t hold out anymore.
Catholics and Christians usually choose something to “give up” for lent (like sugar, coffee, alcohol). But now that I’m older, that doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I don’t “get” anything from giving up those things. And what use is it to “give up” something, just to cross days off a calendar so you can pick them up again after Easter? Some have such a love of whatever they gave up, that they argue if Sunday’s are exempt from whatever it is that was given up. WHAT GOOD IS THAT? Lent is supposed to be a time of personal renewal and change…..not a time to give up sugar, just to pack it all on the day after Easter. So instead, what I’ve found works for me, is choosing a “theme” for my Lenten journey. In past years it’s just been a renewed spiritual journey, but this year I feel is going to be huge.
While my personal theme will still be to grow in faith, through daily mass, adoration, and participating deeper at Sunday mass, I’m also adopting the personal theme of being the heart and hands of Jesus. ASKING him to lend me his heart, and his mother to lend me hers as well. Asking Jesus to let me be his hands—–let me touch a crying stranger, and listen to them when nobody else will. Let me show even the roughest old man love, by simply smiling or holding the door open for him. The world is broken and wounded—–addictions of every kind, some of which are hidden from sight, plague us everywhere. When so many choose to walk away from these addicts, I’m asking Jesus to let me touch them. Let them see something in me, in my actions, in my words—-that touches them. Rather it touches them to get help, or even if it gives them hope to stay alive another day. Let me listen to the elderly woman who got a bad report from the doctor and doesn’t know where to turn. Let me pray with the woman who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer, when everyone else seems side stepped by the diagnosis. Especially as I prepare to “reenter” the world of patient care this April, with my new job as Unit Coordinator, I want to be the hands, the eyes, the heart of Christ to the patients and families I will serve each day. I’d like to think that they leave my presence feeling at least somewhat at ease with whatever burden or illness they’re facing. I want this desire to last longer than Lent….for the world will always need the hands of Christ, not just for 40 days. We can’t fix everyone, but we can simply do our best to bring Jesus to them through our actions, and let God handle the rest.
Although I am sure I will pay for this (after all, the saying goes be careful what you ask for)….I’m still asking for his heart, to be his hands. I’m asking him to let me walk to Calvary with him. To be nailed on the cross with him this year.
Lend me your heart, Lord, and let me be your servant. That is my Lenten wish, and my heart’s desire. Do with me, and this desire, whatever you will.
What are your Lenten plans? To give up something you will pick back up after Lent is over? Or something deeper, bigger?
(Image used is from my visit to the Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker in Lowell, MA.)