a time to love

We are a week into Lent. This is a holy time for all of us. It is during this time that we can take a good look at ourselves. Look and see what we are doing, and what we are capable of doing. This time of forty days, a holy time, is our opportunity to watch with Him and pray with Him.

Try not to look at Lent as what am I giving up? What should I not eat? What should I not do? Or even, it may seem strange, who will I help?  If we choose to give up something, or perform some action for Lent, that is fine, but it doesn’t end there. The money that we keep, the time that we gain, is NOT the end, is NOT the purpose of the “sacrifice”. Rather, what will I do with this extra time? Be ready to give that money saved to someone who you come upon that needs it, who will benefit by it. There is nothing magical in the sacrifice, itself. There is a purpose in it. The purpose is something that you will figure out for yourself. Let me explain.

All of us wish to lead good lives. All wish to be better people; all wish to love Christ more deeply. Lent is a time for us to fall more deeply in love with Jesus. This falling in love with Jesus is not accomplished by doing without, as if we are going to prove to Jesus that we love Him, by what we give, or the pain we are willing to endure. We can say, “Lord, I love you” until we are blue in the face, but what does that really prove. Even a parrot can be taught to say that over and over again.  Use Lent to build your love with Jesus. There was a song, many years ago, “To know him is to love him”. During this Lent, get to know Him better. Read the New Testament. Talk to Him in your personal prayer. Tell Him what you are feeling, what you are experiencing. Talk to Him as you would a close friend. And then listen in your heart for his response. We will get to know Him and in that knowing we will love Him. That love will spill out into actions, actions that will become obvious because of our love for Jesus.  In John 13: 35, we hear, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” It is by loving Him.

Our singular purpose in life is to love our God, to love Jesus. Everything else is a distraction from that one objective. We don’t love Jesus to be noticed by others. We don’t love Him to feel better about ourselves. We don’t even love Him so that our sins are forgiven. We love Him, solely, because He is Goodness, itself, because love begets love. So, our love for Jesus spills out into actions towards others. We cannot plan whom we will help as though it were a military objective. We can see a need, and out of love for Jesus, we can try to do our best in satisfying that need. We don’t look at the person, their worthiness, their cleanliness, their likeability and then decide if we can help them or not. We look at Jesus, the source of all love, and allow His love to guide us in our actions.