Finding More with Less
Pooyie! This Lent has been intense, from an overflowing church on Ash Wednesday to Bishop Sam Jacobs leading our Lenten mission, daily prayer with Journey to Jerusalem, and those 30 minute homilies (yes, I’m being conservative); it certainly feels like we have been on an adventure. Not to mention, the things we gave up for our Lenten penances seem to be calling us to take refuge in them like a mirage in the desert. Oh, and it’s Holy Week this week, the week with all those extra Masses with their own names like Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
The temptation at this point in the journey can be to simply grin and bear it, holding out just one more week so we can return to the life and habits we have been fasting from. The temptation can be to focus on a life that involves a God who just wants to take things from us and fear what He might take next. If we give into this temptation, our journey will end with the focus being on us and will leave us right where we started.
However, let’s stop for a moment and divert our mind from what we are giving up and let’s discover what God has been doing. Is your experience of the family better or worse after giving up T.V., alcohol, or (insert your penance here)? Is your heart more filled with peace or contentment after doing more with less? How did it feel after you gave from your excess to the poor? Is your heart more free after fasting from the things that tend to enslave us? You see, what might keep us on the journey this last week is to realize that something is happening. Let’s remember that God is not in the habit of taking things away from us to make our life miserable. When and if God calls us “away” from something it’s always to call us “towards” something else. Let us remember, God is in the habit of offering us a life that is more beautiful and alive.
Think back to when the Israelites were called away from Egyptian slavery and worship of foreign gods, they were called to the promised land and a promise with God. They would often look back at the life they were leaving behind and wonder if God would give them more than what they were leaving. They were hungry and eager to take refuge in something, while God was setting them up to take refuge in Someone.
In this vulnerable time on the journey, let’s not simply lament about one more week of what God has invited us to give up, but rather let us look to Him in our hunger and desire for refuge and see what He is offering us. Jesus, at the last supper, offers us His body as bread from heaven. Jesus, from the Cross, offers us the “more” of God. The Father raising His Son Jesus from the dead offers us life after death. Jesus takes nothing from us but offers us everything.
Let’s not miss out on the greater gift while grieving and missing the lesser. In these last moments of Lent, let us ask God to show us more that He has for us.