Sometimes we can feel like a thoroughly secure person, with an abundance of self-esteem and the assurance that we are right.
But, sometimes life can throw us a curveball and shake our confidence; or a loss, an illness, a betrayal can turn our world upside down, and pull the rug of certainty and safety out from under us. On the challenging days, as well as the good days, we long for deep inner peace and strong faith. I believe the source to develop a core of unshakable faith is the love of God. This Lent, when we have already given up many things — hugs, travel, time with loved ones —because of living in a pandemic, maybe a good Lenten practice would be to dwell more intentionally in that divine love God has for each of us. This love is described in a poem I invite you to read and ponder in prayer.
Some are big — some are small.
Who has not been drawn to the cookie jar?
Who is totally free of envy,
or wishing of harm upon the enemy?
Something is there that attracts us to death,
to the dark side of the road
where, in supposed secret,
we turn away from light and life.
But one temptation there is
that’s supreme, unexcelled.
It’s to harbor thoughts
that God’s love is conditional,
that God turns his face from us.
God is Love
and cannot not love.
It was written by Bishop Bob Morneau, a humble, kind man with a poet’s heart. It challenges our insecurities and invites us to believe in being “loved first,” so fiercely, by God. This poem challenges the transactional view of a relationship with God that equates God’s affection for us proportional to what we think we deserve.
It spoke to me as I considered another opportunity to live Lent. Lent is a kind of fresh start to look inward to the state of heart, mind and soul.
To ponder the invitation to believe deeply in God’s love for me, while not the easiest thing to do, calls me to trust, that despite my self-perceived flaws and shortcomings, I am that lovable. The deep unconditional love God has for us changes the posture of the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving from sacrifice to a response to being loved.
I would like to give this poem to you. Take it as a sign, a nudge, from the Holy Spirit to embrace the belief that God cannot stop loving you more than you can imagine. Trust that and live accordingly. I wish you the best of Lents and God’s gracious love in your heart!