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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Choose...Relationship With God...

“God is always waiting to be gracious to you. God comes to show you compassion.”
(Isaiah 30:18)

  As Ash Wednesday continues to creep up on us, and we begin to notice all the ‘purple’ reminders around us, we pause to ponder that love is the most profound emotion known to human beings.

For the people of the world, romantic relationships are the most meaningful element in their lives but for many of us pilgrims, the holy season of Lent also reminds us of the great love of God.  Lent would be a great time to slow down, pause and spend time with God; listening to Him, thanking Him for the specific blessings in your life, including the challenges that you have endured by His grace.

“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
(John 15:13, Douay-Rheims)

 Is it not a fact that we all come into this world as ‘guests’, as ‘exile’ - constantly striving to find the so-called 'secret' of a successful rapport with everybody and everything we come across, trying to achieve everything with the aim of having a successful life?

In the midst of all these worldly pursuits, we often tend to forget and have no time to ask ourselves, “Do I actually have a personal relationship with my loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?”

The words ‘Jesus is Lord’ may come glibly from our lips in prayer, but to actually live out this confession with commitment in this journey through life, is far more difficult and challenging.

“…And no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.”  (1 Corinthians 12:3, NAB)

The 'sacrifices' we make during Lent, although for God, our Creator…also affect others around us and naturally, ourselves too, in our relationship with God.  The actions we take and the choices we make in our spiritual journey through Lent has a multi-pronged effect…whether we are what we were called to be…whether we love more or less…whether we remember to be humble and mindful?

The world today seems to constantly echo with a disconcerting chorus of voices, noises, the result of frustrated and failed relationships between parents and children, husbands and wives, siblings, in-laws, friends, colleagues and communities, even between nations!  As a result, individuals become disillusioned with themselves for not being able to relate successfully to their environment…the world they live in…some rebel, fight back whereas others lose hope, become depressed, abandoned, even suicidal.

Thus, the journey through Lent is a very opportune time for us, to learn to become more prayerful, cultivate more awareness of God’s presence and grow more deeply into His grace; committing, building, nurturing and strengthening our relationship with Him.

Prayer is our relationship with God.  If we are striving to live, move and act with an awareness of God’s abiding presence at all times, we are praying.  When we are convinced that every heartbeat is a gift from God, that every hair on our head is counted, we are praying.  This awareness and conviction is prayer. …We cannot be constantly addressing our thoughts and words to God in prayer, but our attitudes and mentality can always be prayerfully God oriented.” Msgr. David E. Rosage

Lent is, most of all, an ideal time to remember that we, in the deepest way, must learn to fully depend on God; to let God come into our lives…to remember who we are…to be vulnerable for Him…to allow God to use us as His humble instrument to reflect His light to a very much darkened world we live in.  To listen to Him daily...

“O, that today you would hear his voice: Harden not your hearts…”  (Psalm 95-7-8)

 God is faithful, He is always waitingwaiting to be gracious to each one of us.  Regardless of how often we have sinned, rejected Him, gave up on Him, God is always waiting to be gracious to each one of us…running to seek us out, to find us, embrace us, forgive us and to bring us back home. On our part, we must learn to be humble and to repent.

“Speak, Lord for your servant is listening”  (1 Samuel 3:9-10)

Our loving God and Father did not create us to be slaves to the secular world, to be bound by its set of worldly man-made rules, as if that is how we should develop a relationship with God.  Through His death on the cross, He has already freed us…saved us.

Hence, as you continue your journey towards Lent, slow down and always choose to balance everything else in your life, with Jesus at the very center…and His Word, His Church and her teachings…balancing the equilibrium.

A committed and self-disciplined journey towards Lent will purify your soul and allow you to simply experience a deeper sense of interior freedom, quiet and solitude.  Lent will then have a more significant meaning and you will surely notice the simple difference on Easter Sunday…simply living life carrying the full hope of the resurrection.

...thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(Matthew 16:18, Douay-Rheims)

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