The snow piles remain so high. The ice on sidewalks and streets demands constant attention if you and I want to remain upright. As I recall from way back around January 16, some of the grass was still a bit green. But it is so buried; is it still there at all?
It may be March; daylight saving time starts March 10; but we seem, we feel, sooooo far away from spring. I hope I’m not projecting too much of my feelings on everyone else, but don’t we really NEED spring – and SOON?
Highway 26 Revisited
When I was exploring parts of Wisconsin late last summer to find new places for bicycle rides, I found myself southeast of Madison early one afternoon, on Highway 26. I had been a little too deep in thought and missed the turn-off for the one road I was looking for. No problem. I’ll just take the next one, follow that south until I get where I think I should be – I’m sure that next road is going in the same direction I need to go.
I drove for almost a half hour thinking I knew very well what direction I was heading and exactly where the next main highway would be. Of course, this was a cloudy day; no sun to guide me. I was very wrong – and quite lost. Finally, I decided I had to consult the map. Only then did I realize how far off I was, how much I still did not know about this area of Wisconsin, and only then could I make a plan to get back on track. I needed guidance, not my own certainty and pride.
Joy of the Gospel
If you listen to the various Scripture Readings on the Sundays of Lent, if you get a copy of any booklet or use a Catholic website that also gives the weekday Lenten readings – or if you are reading “The Joy of the Gospel” by Pope Francis, our Christmas gift to all and now our Lenten discussion event – you and I will have great directions for life. For some of us, we need just a slight correction and we’re back on track. For some we might be really lost. For all of us, I suggest, we might not even know how far off track we are without opening our ears and hearts to the Word of God.
As much as we need spring, we NEED Lent. We need to slow down, stop all the distractions in life that try to bury our relationship with God. We NEED a course correction! That may be easier to see in the wider society, out there in the lives of others. But if it’s going to happen “out there,” it will because of the personal choice and changes each of us makes in our own lives, stating right “in here” – in our own hearts where we can find the message of God, the call to a better and more faith-filled life.
Is the deep abiding presence of God still in your hearts and mine, perhaps buried beneath the cold, icy piles of selfishness? Can each of us make the effort to stop pride-filled certainty and see the truth – we need direction; we need salvation? YES, I believe we can. Because the God who made us, walks with us, loves us deeply wants us on this journey of Lent and will not leave us lost. Welcome, Lent 2019!