Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
There’s a kind of sandwich in the prayer this week. The top and bottom are good, but the meat is in the middle.
“Through the yearly observances of holy Lent.”
Stop for a moment and consider how this Lent is different that last year. During Lent last year within one day every church in the county was closed. We weren’t nearly as creative with Zoom as we are now. We missed, and some people are still mourning, all the Sacraments we didn’t get to celebrate. A recent meme had a picture of a man running a race. He is Lent 2020, but he is soon to get lapped by another runner, Lent 2021. It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? like Lent never ended. But while Lent may seem like a penitential time, it is also a time for renewal. Put the old Lent away, start new. He will make all things new, He will renew your strength, look for the blessings God has in store for you during this Lent.
“That we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ.”
I’ve been thinking about these riches for a long time. Maybe your first thought was like mine, “I want those!” The word “riches” isn’t just the object, the word tells us the value of what we’re seeking. The riches are the mystery of Christ, who is our source of joy, and the riches are our union with God. Those mysteries are hidden not because we have to play hide and seek to find them. They’re hidden in the sense that we don’t have them. They are only found in Christ.
“By worthy conduct pursue their effects”
in the Latin prayer, this is translated, “to progress in our understanding of this mystery.” This takes participation on our part. Worthy conduct calls us to live a life according to who we are - we are children of God. We are redeemed. We are heirs with Jesus. The work of the Holy Spirit should be evident in our lives. When we live a life worthy of that call, we grow in the riches, our friendship with Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, and our desire of God’s will.
Lectio The Liturgy: Consider how your Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, are in pursuant of solid and permanent growth in your faith. A very easy way to grow in prayer is to practice mental prayer. St. Teresa of Avila once called mental prayer a “heart-to-heart conversation” with God. Don’t be afraid to talk with God! He will even answer you. Write down his answer - it was meant just for you!
Thank you for praying with me! This week, remember to look for joy in the Word.