Lenten Promises: Personal and Communal Goals
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ( 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 ) This is probably one of my favorite quotes from the bible not only because I think it is sweet and romantic but because I think it truly sums up what love really means. It gets right to the core of what love is really about and how it is expressed. I think that this quote also pertains to the Lenten season.
What do you get God for Valentines Day? I recently read an article from Dan Horan on http://blog.americancatholic.org/2012/02/what-do-you-get-god-for-valentines-day/. Dan Horan is a Franciscan and an author of the new book Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis. Cutting to the chase, in this blog Dan talks about how our relationship with God is similar to our relationship with those close to us. I dont think this means we should think of God as our boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse because that is not what God wants us to think. Most of the time our relationships are based on trust, communication, and of course, love. What God wants us to do is to use those important factors not only in our relationship with others, but also with Him. Dan quotes, “Our relationship with God is quite simply a human relationship with God, because we are still human. God might be infinitely different from us, but we still bring all of our human experiences, emotions and ways of viewing the world to our relationship with God”. The Bible quotes, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). I am using this quote from the bible to contrast the love between a man and woman and the love between us and God. I believe that God has given us this great gift of love and he wants us to share and carry down that love to our future spouse. So on Valentines Day, not only should we be sharing our love with that special someone but we should be thanking God for the love he gave us.
For Valentines Day, I would get God flowers to show how much I appreciate the gift of creation he has given us and the beauty of nature. According to Catholic Encyclopedia at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15254a.htm, Valentines Day has been looked upon as “specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens.” On Valentines Day we often set aside time to spend with our loved one or friend. We should also set aside some time for just you and God.
“Caritas in veritate”, an article and love and truth, talks about how the only thing we can give to God for Valentines Day is love. I agree with this article because what else can we offer but our whole heart and soul after he laid down his whole life for us. The article also mentioned the importance of charity. Charity and truth are linked together and without those components, there really is no love. Truth gives meaning to charity and it is a value in which we are to proclaim. God shines his light on us in which is then carried down to a man and woman. It is our job to proclaim love and truth to today’s society so we can embark together on a journey that will lead us all to unity.
So let’s say you receive a valentine this year. The question is “why did he/she give me this?” It can either leave a good or bad impression. Mainly the goal of the sender is that he or she wants to show how much they appreciate the friendship or they want to become more than just friends. I don’t really care for Valentines Day because it is mainly a Hallmark holiday and why should we go over and beyond showing how much we care about someone just one day of the year? We should be expressing our love to others everyday.
Love is also accountable. Je’Kob, a rapper, singer, and record producer, claims to be a Christian artist. After recently listening to a new song by him “Love is All”, I am questioning whether or not the meaning of this song is actually reflecting God’s love. There is no doubt he is probably making some money with his songs and it is true to say that making money and praising God were two of his goals. But, is he reaching any of those? Some of the things he mentions in this song are very good and truly reflect the beliefs of the catholic population but other things such as stating that love is all we need is questioning. God’s name is not being mentioned in this song and isn’t it God who provides us with that everlasting love? The song even mentions simply forgetting religion.
After hearing about the Pascal’s Wager, I became interested in his strategy. His idea is to scare people about the reality of death. His goal is to convert people to Christianity and I disagree with how he is doing this. He is basically telling people to believe in God just in case there is an afterlife. People should be converting because they want to have a better relationship with God and not because they are frightened about what might happen if they don’t. You should not be making a “bet” with God.
My Lenten promise this year is to grow closer to God particularly through prayer. Sometimes it is difficult to come up with prayers at the top of your head. Paul writes this to the Philippians: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And Peter adds, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer”…and “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I see prayer as a conversation with God and I think that it should feel as if you are talking to your best friend. During this Lenten season, I am going to work on my communication with God. I am also going to try to get to Mass more often during the week.
I recently interviewed Mrs. Berry, the guidance counselor here at DC. Mrs. Berry is a mother of 3 girls and enjoys spending quality time with her family. When asked what her Lenten promise was going to be this year, she replied “I am going to go to church or adoration as often as I can during the 40 days of lent.” To hear Mrs. Berry’s interview, go to http://www.youtube.com/embed/XglJFq1hq4s”