Yesterday I took our daughter to the all school Mass at the school my husband teaches at for Ash Wednesday. While I loved the readings, what spoke to me most – in between wrangling our daughter – was the beauty of God’s goodness.
The children sang some of my very favorite songs as I struggled to hold back tears at the joy of how wonderful and loving our God is. That may seem a bit odd since we are now in Lent, a season of penance, prayer, and fasting, but in that liturgy I was overwhelmed at how God leads our lives. More than anything, I was struck by how God leads us to Himself.
Through all of the struggles and joys in life – the seasons of Lent and the seasons of Easter – He is always leading us to Himself, to His will for our lives, to the depths of His love for us. As I was taking it all in, the choir sang:
“Holy Spirit, You are welcome here,
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord.”
In a song, that’s really what Lent is about. We give up things, we add extra prayers, all in an effort to be closer to God. In that sense, Lent is less about how much we give up (especially if we flaunt it like those Jesus rebukes in the Gospel reading from yesterday) or how many extra things we do, so much as it is about being in His presence.
In Lent we enter a season unlike any other. We rend our hearts, not our garments. We seek to return to Him with our whole heart (see yesterday’s reading from Joel). We cry out to Him from the desert, emptying ourselves of ourselves so that we may be filled with His presence, His goodness. What a gift it is that He gives us this holy season of Lent so that we can more fully, more intentionally seek His glory and be overcome by His presence in our lives.
May this Lent be a time for us to become more aware of His presence and experience the glory of His goodness as we seek Him with our whole heart. Holy Spirit, come flood this place, flood our hearts with all that You are and all that You long for us to become.