Blessed Be God

Today we have heard very powerful words from the readings and the Gospel. Many of us have heavy hearts. The crucifixion was a terrible and horrific scene to watch and hear about. During this coming Holy Week we will remember the Gospel but it is also important to remember some other things. I am going to make some suggestions that may be helpful to all of us.

Many of us had decided before Lent began that we were going to do certain things that would help us on our journey. Many of you were successful with observing some dietary restrictions about eating fish on certain days and cutting back on certain foods. That is good and helped us to discipline ourselves. Another way of observing Lent is a little different but helps us discipline ourselves as well. Instead of cutting back on things, I think Jesus would be very pleased if we tried to control negative thoughts and words to others and ourselves. Sometimes we are not kind to ourselves if things have not gone the way we thought they should have. We berate ourselves in public or when we are alone. With one more week left in Lent it behooves us to speak kindly and with compassion to ourselves while at the same time speaking with compassion to others. Negativity has no place in Jesus' teaching. We have been told time and again that we are loved. The story of the crucifixion is a manifestation of that love.

Another way to allow ourselves to be loved by God is to spend more time with the Holy One. This does not mean we have to take an hour to pray and meditate, it just means that we could be more aware of God's presence in our life. The little things are what matters. Being aware of an awesome sunset, watching for the robins to return or appreciating our family for something nice they have done for us. Being in the moment and being aware that God is there with us is a religious experience. We all have these moments we just need to be more aware of them.

One more way to appreciate the love of Jesus and what He has done for us is to give to others in a special way this Lent. Maybe it means writing a letter to a friend that is long overdue. Maybe it is contributing money to a needy organization that has come to mind. Maybe it means giving more time and attention to ourselves. We all live vigorous and very busy lives. Sometimes we give out more energy than we should. Perhaps we should take time to renew ourselves with healthy food, exercise, and sleep. If we give too much and not renew ourselves we will burn ourselves out. This is not what Jesus wanted. He wanted us to give to others but to also be at peace with ourselves. We cannot do for others if our candle is burning down, down, down and we do not stop to refresh the candle. Jesus loves us more than we can ever imagine. Our Parent God wants us to be the best we can be. Taking care of ourselves is a loving way to let God know you appreciate Her love.

This is the season of forgiveness and healing. We have another week in the process. Can you name some things that would be healing for yourself and others? All of us can. Sometimes we have to listen what God is speaking in our ear and sometimes we can sit back and use our imagination. Healing is both personal and communal. With one more week to go in this Lenten season we still have time to heal ourselves, with God's help so we will be better able to reach out to others.

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