When I look forward to the weeks of Lent, I am grateful for the time it allows me to fast –to slow my steps so that I may walk more carefully in the path that Jesus showed us. As I fast, each time I desire that which I have given up is an opportunity for prayer – a time to come back to God, like a Buddhist monk who pauses at the chime of a bell. And yet, what are these pauses all about? The readings today remind me that Lent is an opportunity to renew my relationship with God. Sometimes, in the midst of a busy week, I find that I am neglecting this beautiful relationship that is always there for me to commune with. I know that God loves me – that God will always love me. But, do I always love God back? Do I nurture that love so that it will grow, so that I will grow and flourish? St. Ireneaus said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” I am dumbfounded and humbled by that truth –that the glory of God is for all beings to be nurtured and thriving! As the readings tells us today, God “will be like dew [and God’s people] will blossom like the lily …they shall blossom like the vine, and His fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.”
These readings remind me that in order to fully let the love of God nurture my life, I need to be open to this Love. Over and again in the psalm, God only asks us to “hear His voice.” To listen sometimes seems like such a passive act, and I know that as a person that likes to check things off my list and feel accomplished, this passive act is a thing I need to practice. I need to allow myself the quiet to be open to God’s voice in my life; like any fruit or blossom, I cannot just hope that I will ripen; I need to place myself in the sun receiving all the love that God offers us. And yet, a deep relationship with God is not only about receiving but giving this love. The Gospel calls us to remember Jesus’ words: “Love your God ….[and] love your neighbor as yourself.” Again, I am humbled by the path that Jesus showed us — that more than any ritual, prayer, or offering, letting ourselves be loved and loving one another are the two most important truths.
Holy Spirit, fill me with the grace of Your Love. Guide me to turn a grateful ear to Your voice, to pause long enough to hear it. Grant me the peace of heart to give that Love to those I meet, so that I may be part of the flow of Your Grace and Mystery in the world.
Erin Bodin, ‘06, Assistant Director of M.O.V.E.
First Reading: Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6c-11b, 14, 17
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34