Even now, says the Lord,
Return to me with your whole heart.
A Lenten Invitation
I love the scripture passage above from the prophet Joel. This is the first line of the first reading proclaimed during the Ash Wednesday mass….ushering in the annual observance of Lent. I’m not sure there are any better words to describe what Lent can be for us – returning to God with our whole hearts!
We are a forgetful people. In our choice to experience the human condition, we temporarily forgot our original state in Oneness with God. We forgot the peace, the love and the joy that define our Origin in God and as such, we live in a state of fear. This fear which arises out of our false perception of separation from God is what creates the suffering that we experience in the human condition. Out of this fear, we behave in ways that are unloving, unkind, covetous, jealous, wrathful and unjust…and we suffer the consequences of these actions (not because God is punishing us, but because that is just the way things are). In this state of fear, we often believe, “Life sucks and then you die,” or we project these fears onto God falsely believing that we have to earn our way back to “heaven” and that there is some magical formula (certain prayers, rituals, sacraments, acts of service, pentitential acts) that will get us back home. The good news is that there is really only one things we need to do…..and that is to REMEMBER!
Returning and Remembering
I know this is easier said than done, but in order to reclaim our original nature as loving, peaceful, joyful creatures, all we need to do is to REMEMBER. And the quickest way I have found to remember the love, the joy and the peace that we are is to turn to God. Now, I don’t mean the head bowed in penitence turning to God….I mean the heart wide-opened, arms spread wide, joyful acceptance of the loving magnificence of God. And, there are many tools to help facilitate this turning…..prayer, devotion, worship, meditation, contemplation, love making, being in nature, mindfulness, acts of service, singing and chant, listening to music, participating in creative endeavors. All of these activities, when directed toward our returning to God, help us to Remember. When we REMEMBER God as love…..then we also REMEMBER ourselves as love and we have accomplished what Joel invites us to do – return to God with our whole heart.
What Are You Waiting For?
While we can get to this business of remembering and returning anytime we wish, Lent is a great excuse for giving extra attention to this endeavor. So, if you are interested in experiencing deeper peace, greater love and more joy in your life…..what are you waiting for? If you don’t already have a spiritual practice….start one (See the new Tab on this Website – “Meditation tips” for help on getting started.) and if you have one already….do it more.
What activities are you already doing that give you peace, help you experience love or joy?
How are you being invited to utilize these activities as a spiritual practice with the intention of remembering your original nature as love, peace and joy?
How are you being invited to begin or deepen your existing spiritual practice?
Authentic Freedom Ministries