Dear Fathers,Friends in Christ,
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart. (Joel 2:12)
Now: it’s an urgent word, a word that doesn’t allow for delay. It’s a word that promises immediate fulfillment. You can feel it when the prophet Joel called God’s people to return. You can see it in St. Paul’s ardent plea: “Now is a very acceptable time” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Both Paul and Joel are saying the same thing: God is always eager to pour out his grace. He’s always ready to bless us. This is the first thing we need to know as we begin these forty days of Lent.
But if God is always eager, why do we need a season like Lent? Because while it’s always now to God, it isn’t always so for us. We need the structure of seasons like Lent to get our attention. We need the reminder to simplify our schedules and look to God more intensely. We need the call to increased prayer or fasting to shake up our routines and make us more eager for him.
So set these forty days aside as a retreat. If you’ve struggled with prayer in the past, don’t worry; today—now—can be a fresh start. Give God ten minutes each day. If you can’t do that, what about eight? Whatever amount of time, it can be your chance to retreat from pressing concerns and make yourself available to God. Open your heart to him as you read each day’s Scripture passage and meditation. Try to sense what God might be saying to you.
For each bit of time you give to God, you will discover that you are able to trust him a little more. For each bit of time you spend praying with his word, you’ll notice your heart feeling a little lighter. You’ll find yourself smiling more, no matter what life throws at you.
Don’t doubt that God is pouring out his grace this Lent. Receive it. Every day. Now is your time!
“Lord, thank you for giving me the season of Lent. Renew my enthusiasm and anticipation as I turn to you each day. Draw me closer!”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne