“Everything is grace”-
Saint Therese of Lisieux
Lent: is a period of joyfully stripping off dead, dried up burdens and masks so I might have the capacity to receive grace. Sound complicated?
It is rather simple, too simple. Everything about God is simple and natural. We are the ones in our pride who complicate our relationship to Him. I am a typical example. Although Jesus surprised me by suddenly appearing in my life at 16, I tried too hard afterwards to grow in intimacy. I read all the complicated books on the inner life and then proceeded to strive and pray circles around myself.
Pride enticed me to work harder, pray more, fast religiously and perform heroic acts of virtue. The truth is that I cannot earn His love or Presence. He must do everything in me. This is true humility. Humility accepts that only God can save me . It is my job simply to surrender in prayer and give Him permission to flow through me how ever and when ever He wants.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8,9
God let me become exhausted and discouraged. He waited until I gave up and then Jesus finally had an opening to shine the light of His love into my core self.
When the light of the divine shines, through the dull glass of my life, I suddenly see all the colours and beauty which were always present. I am no longer a dull, grey window but a brilliant stained glass that only the light of God can illuminate.
“Such a soul has been stripped of her old self and has been clothed in a new self, in Christ gentle Jesus. Then, she is open to receive and hold that grace by which she experiences God in this life.”
Saint Catherine of Siena
I would express this Lenten process in different words:
I yes to God and allow His light to dissolve false masks and costumes, allowing my true self, hidden in Christ to rise up and take centre stage. Now I can receive and hold His grace, His love. Now my grey life shines with His colourful light.
During Lent, we all stand before the Cross of Christ, longing for a deeper communion with God. This is a special time to draw closer to God, to open the door to our heart. As we focus on the voice of God, we begin to hear His whispers and His desire to love us and communicate with us. Give up, surrender to His love and enjoy the joyful season that we call Lent.