Bring us back to you.

It is wonderful to see the early weeks of Lent as a catechism for those who are on a journey toward Baptism at the Easter Vigil.  Each liturgy offers a new "lesson in the faith" for these new believers.  Viewed this way, Lent can be a journey of renewal in faith for us all.  We listen, with the hearts of children, learning old lessons, as though for the first time.

And each day, we pray these special prayers that simply help us keep turning to God for the graces we need for the day.  Throughout the day, we find moments, perhaps "in the background" while we are doing other things, that help us remember what we are asking for.  Our desire grows as we make changes to our daily patterns.  As we make sacrifices, in order to experience freedom from self-directed needs, we also experience a freedom for other-directed love and generosity.

 

Convert us, O God our Savior, 
and instruct or minds by heavenly teaching, 
that we may benefit from the works of Lent.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today's Reading

Daily Meditation: 

Bring us back to you. 

We repeat our desire that God bring us home from our wandering. 
We know that in the confusion that surrounds us and can fill us,
 
we need the gift of Wisdom.

It is fitting that our very first “lesson” in our faith, 
is the last judgment scene that Jesus paints for us.
 
We will be judged on whether we:
 
fed the hungry
 
welcomed the stranger
 
clothed the naked
 
comforted the sick
 
visited the imprisoned.
 
It is powerful to re-learn this wisdom -
 
Jesus identifies with each of these “least” cared for.

Who might we feed, welcome, clothe, comfort or visit this week? 
As my heart might “resist” this mission,
 
I might beg to be brought back, with all my heart.

Intercessions: 

Praise to Jesus, our Savior; by his death he has opened for us the way of salvation.  
Let us ask him: 
   Lord, guide your people to walk in your ways. 

God of mercy, you gave us new life through baptism, 
 - make us grow day by day in your likeness. 

May our generosity today bring joy to those in need, 
 - in helping them may we find you. 

Help us to do what is good, right and true in your sight, 
 - and to seek you always with undivided hearts. 

Forgive our sins against the unity of your family, 
 - make us one in heart and spirit.
 

Closing Prayer: 

Loving God, 
you call us back to you with all of our hearts. 
I feel your call for me deep in my heart 
and I know you want me back 
as much as I want to return. 
Please, Lord, 
give me the wisdom to know how to return. 
Make my journey back to you this Lent 
one of grace, forgiveness and gentle love.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 
Amen.

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

The other night friends and I were enjoying dinner and lively conversation.  The topic turned to sharing stories about the childhood antics of our children who are now all young adults.  There was a healthy dose of nostalgia at the table as we recounted stories from their toddler and grade school years.  It was such a joy to share those memories while appreciating the fine people our children are today.

On this first Monday of Lent both readings focus on the rules God calls us to live by.  While these rules are easy to agree with it, it can be a challenge to live each of them out every moment of every day.  My daily Examen prayer gives me insights to when I live as God has called me to live and when I have failed.  Looking at missed opportunities or times I was neglectful or retributive can leave me overwhelmed and unsure of what to do to live the life God asks of us.

As I pray with today’s readings I am thinking back to my children’s preschool days about which my friends and I had been reminiscing.  When my daughters were in preschool they were taught a program called HALO, Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones.  All of the lessons focused on people making healthy choices rather than harmful choices.  Wearing a helmet when riding a bike is a healthy choice.  Smoking a cigarette is a harmful choice.  That model helped them, and our family for that matter, view behavior with compassion and always strive to make the better choice. 

Today’s Psalm helps give me encouragement to revisit what God is asking of me: 
The Law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul
The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart
The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye

Rather than worry if I am going to be judged as a goat or a sheep, I can pray for the wisdom and insight the Psalm assures me is there in the Law the Lord. When I open my heart and realize I am a loved sinner I can much more easily live as God is asking me to live.  Engaging from a place of compassion for myself and others sets a foundation for loving my neighbor as myself.  Richard Rohr in Falling Upward has helped me appreciate how my failings are helping me grow in my “second half” of my life. 

This Lent I will dig deeper with my Examen prayer to appreciate the bright spots and to search for what I can learn from my sin.  Now that seems like a healthy choice.

by Mary Lee Brock
Creighton University's Werner Institute
click here for photo and information about the writer

 
Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

and

Visual Bible Alive