Whole-Hearted Lent

The prophet Joel’s clarion call to repentance:

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart …

Heart anterior exterior view.jpgAfter the opening prayer this morning, I mouthed to my wife from the music area, “Here we go!”

What does it mean to put our whole heart into something? Lovers do. In the infatuation stage, sure. But also in mature love, when trials and obstacles present themselves and a couple is beset by sadness, frustration, or other strong emotions.

As for us and God, how many of us are still infatuated? Still stuck in young love, expecting the ideal God to fulfill us? How many of us have stuck it out with God, through thick and thin, hell and high water, and so on?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Whole-Hearted Lent

  1. Liam says:

    Todd

    If I may: this is one of your strongest and most incisive posts in memory.

    If I may share a complementary perspective on this as a single person on the back side of midlife:

    Our culture primes us to understand love as urge, emotion or sentiment, rather than action or restraint. It also primes us to develop an expectation (or at least assumption) of linear relationship between action and results (we have a lot of this in our liturgy wars, too). I know people who condemn themselves for not loving someone when they are indeed engaging in loving action/restraint, because they can’t feel/sense it, or because they lack affirmation about the results being worth the effort.

    Preachers in the Catholic church do a grave disservice to the faithful when they neglect to delve deeply into how desolations and dark nights of the soul and senses are *normal* – indeed, to be expected along the journey of the pilgrim soul. My sense is that preachers are typically allergic to this, and assiduously avoid engaging it directly at any length; more typically, it’s alluded to with a humorous or wry aside and not much else.

    I am a Hebrews 11 guy (think of Abraham and Sarah – they don’t have a “spiritual home” to rest in, but only get to salute it from afar), but with the Charles Peguy twist that I see the little girl Hope as the initial outward thrust of the soul, pulling with agility and eagerness her sisters Faith and Charity ahead on the rocky pilgrim road. To grasp Hope, we must let go of Expectation.

  2. Catherine says:

    Doing my best to stick it out and let Jesus help me. Sometimes I take it all on myself. Working on it. I have found that love, if you are able to use it selflessly through and with Jesus has amazing healing powers. Maybe not the result I would want but definitely improvements.

    In Christ

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