Monday, March 31, 2014

Content in the wilderness

So we've made it through four weeks of Lent. How are you doing?

Have you slipped on a Friday and eaten meat? I totally did that just this last Friday (although it wasn't actual meat; I'd forgotten egg-drop soup uses chicken broth. I was halfway through the bowl before I remembered). Are you just absolutely yearning for what you've given up, (you can have it on Sundays, remember. I have had little bits of cheese) or are you at the point where you no longer crave what you've offered as your sacrifice this year?

More importantly, though, have you made a real journey of the soul?

I have this sense that's hard to put into words, but in a way, this Lenten season is changing me more than others in the past have done. And it's not the giving up cheese that's had anything to do with it. I renewed my Marian consecration, the completion of which, this second time around, just gave me this amazing sense of peace. As I went through the 33-day preparation for the consecration (which started before Lent began), I was asking for the grace to let go of things, people, I've held on to, or if God's will for them to be in my life. I don't know that I've let them go entirely, but I certainly am more open to God's will being done with less clingy about these things my mind wants to grasp.

I know that probably makes little sense to you.

But I've also, as Lent has progressed, tried to give myself more silent time just talking to God. When 2014 began, I adopted St. Alphonsus Liguori as my patron for the year, and I've been reading some of his writings. Last week, I read this:

"Finally, if you wish to please the loving Heart of your God, try for as long a space of time as you can to converse with Him, with the greatest possible confidence; He will not fail to answer you and even to speak with you Himself. Not that He will make audible sounds strike your ears, but He will answer in words that you will clearly understand in your heart, insofar as you leave conversation with creatures and try to speak with your God -- you alone with him alone: 'I will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart (Hosea 2:14).'"

That last verse from Hosea stopped me when I read it. There is a reason why I am where I am now -- where we all are. And I know I forget, sometimes, even when I am silent, to talk to God. I can become so caught up in my own stresses and grievances, in my daydreams or thoughts of the past, or even fill the silence with other distractions -- reading, although I love it and it is a good thing of itself -- to really listen, or to ask for God's help and to rest in His grace. Things my not be as I'd wish them to be, but I am trying to be more content in the wilderness.

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