Category: Year of Joy

Year of Joy: Beginning Lent

Since I first began practicing Lent I have made a habit of asking God what He would have for me in this season.

What indulgence might I set aside in order to tune my heart to greater awareness and prayer, toward greater humility and imitation of Jesus’ delight in doing the will of the Father at any cost to himself?

For me it usually involves food and it almost always means giving up soda (one of my most treasured indulgences).

So  I was a bit surprised when God told me that what He wants from me this year is a sacrifice of praise.

An offering of thanksgiving.IMG_4423Then I read this morning’s Lent devotional…

A life of faith is a life of gratitude – it means a life in which I am willing to experience my complete dependence upon God and to praise and thank him unceasingly for the gift of being.

A truly eucharistic life means always saying thanks to God, always praising God, and always being more surprised by the abundance of God’s goodness and love.

How can such a life not also be a joyful life? It is the truly converted life in which God has become the centre of all.

There gratitude is joy and joy is gratitude and everything becomes a surprising sign of God’s presence.

Show Me The Way – Readings For Each Day Of Lent

It never ceases to amaze me how God speaks right to my heart at just the right time.

I’ve been asking Him for joy.

I’m desiring to grow in awareness of Him and to be formed into the image of Christ.

And the “sacrifice” that He asks of me is the very one that answers both of those requests.

“How can such a life not also be a joyful life?”

“There gratitude is joy and joy is gratitude and everything becomes a surprising sign of God’s presence.”

He’s so beautiful, this Beloved of mine.  He gives and gives and gives.

And when He asks me to die to self, even in this, He gives me more than I could ask or imagine.

Year of Joy and 40 Days

lentCandle

I sat in the Ash Wednesday service this morning and every single word was a gift from God to my heart.

I thought of Peter weeping bitterly over his betrayal.  I thought of how Jesus knew all about the mess that was Peter.  How He prayed for him.  How He welcomed him on the beach and said, “Come and have breakfast.

I kept thinking about how Jesus knows me.

How He knows the mess that is me.

How He welcomes me.

And how He calls me to die. 

To die to my false self. My self-centered self.

(So that I can live to my true-self-in-Christ.)

How He calls me to feed His sheep. To live love.

When I die to self then I live to Love.

When I die to self then I live to Joy.

Then I live to JOY!

I wrote the post below several years ago. It speaks a sweet reminder to me today.

40 days to wander, 40 days to die to self
40 days to grow stronger as faith breaks open the gates of hell.
The Jubilee is over, but grace is far from gone
In the hearts of the faithful, broken on the wheels of love.

Chorus:

In the desert of temptation, lies the storm of true conversion,
where springs of living water drown and refresh you
And as the Jordan pours out change,
your true self is all that remains,
where springs of living water bind and break you.

40 days to remember the Paschal sacrifice
40 days to discover as passion calls us to new life
The Jubilee is over but mercy is far from gone
In the arms of the Father as the wayward child comes home.

– Matt Maher –

Several images in this video caught my attention and surprised me. I was captured by the illustrations of Jesus at play, chasing birds, finding joy.

Odd as it may be, I never once thought of Jesus experiencing joy during his 40 days in the wilderness. And yet, something about these simple images stirred my soul.

Why would I think joy was absent when God was present? And I thought of all of the times, when in the midst of hardship and struggle, I have found such joy in surrendered intimacy with my Lord.

In the midst of 40 days of dying to self, in the midst of this season of Lent, there is great joy to be found as death brings forth resurrection. Not just Easter morning resurrection, but present resurrection, living wide awake to God in the midst of the wilderness.

Joy.

Now.

“Where springs of living water bind and break you.”