Yesterday was Ash Wednesday so my parents and I went to church in the afternoon. The deacon gave a short, but powerful reflection. He started by reminding us that we are in a spiritual battle. Every day we see evidence of a struggling world. We face our own challenges and decisions as well. We need help to stand firm, make the right decisions, and not get pulled into the angst of the troubles surrounding us. The opening prayer for Mass started with, “Father in Heaven, Protect us in our struggle against evil.” The scripture readings and music repeated the message, “Now is the time.” The deacon continued by saying that Lent is a time to put on our spiritual armor to strengthen us, help us to gain resolve, and to build our relationship with God. That armor consists of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving or charity. His message – which I unfortunately can’t capture here – was so powerful that the congregation clapped when he was finished speaking. I vowed to do my best during the Lent season.
I woke up this morning to the news and details of another tragic school shooting. The law enforcement officers, the school administrators, and others in leadership positions repeated the message, “Now is the time.” Our society must do something, must do more to protect innocent people. Of course, the actions they suggested were varied. But in my opinion, bottom line, our society is turning away from God. But, there is always hope. I thought again about the message from yesterday and wondered what would happen if everyone celebrating Lent would do so with firm resolve. What if we all came together in faith, determined to make a difference in our lives and in our world. What if we put on the armor we need and shared that with others. What if we took God at His Word as told in today’s scripture reading from Deuteronomy, chapter 30, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.” How much of a difference would it make in us, in our families, in our schools, workplaces, and in our world? I reaffirmed my determination to live Lent well and to expect abundant blessings. Now is the time.
I Found God today in powerful words that stirred my soul.