Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Grant Pardon

By Melanie Rigney

By Oxh973 (Own work by Jennifer Balaska)
[Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
(Solomon said:) “Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel which they offer in this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.” (1 Kings 8:30)

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God! (Psalm 84:2)

“You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.” (Mark 7:13)

Here I am, Lord, far from ready for the rigors of Lent, just as I seldom perceive I am ready for the service You desire. I offer what I am, imperfect as can be, and trust You will find a way to make use of me.

The last day of ordinary time for weeks and weeks and weeks. Are you ready?

I’m not.

Lent is sneaking up on me this year, as it may be for you. It’s early this year, but even when it’s late, there never seems to be enough time to prepare one’s soul for a season of self-examination, fasting, and penance. After all, there’s real life to deal with between the end of the Christmas season and Ash Wednesday: budgets to balance, families to get back on track, resolutions to attempt to fulfill. And let’s not even get into how Snowzilla wreaked havoc on our plans.

Pope Francis wants us to live Lent in this the Jubilee Year of Mercy “more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy.” He even tells us what that’s supposed to look like “prayerful listening to God’s word, especially his prophetic word,” including “a generous, faithful and compassionate goodness shown within marriage and family relationships.”

No small order.

And so today, while I scramble to figure out ways I can get away from the office long enough to get ashed with some coworkers tomorrow at lunchtime, and tonight, when I make sure the beautiful Lenten resources a dear friend gave me is by the side of my bed for the morning, I will pray what I often pray: “I’m not ready, God. Forgive me. Do what You can with what I have to offer. I have faith you’ll surprise me. Amen.”

Write down five words that describe your faith life today. Stick them in your planner to review on May 16—the next day in ordinary time.

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