How often have you done something, completed a task, fulfilled a responsibility and have very little to show for it? It can be discouraging, in fact frustrating. In preparation for the great season of Lent, I sent a letter to all 1,200 of our parish families encouraging them during this wonderful season of repentance, to make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which we normally celebrate on Saturday mornings. Our numbers for confession are negligible on a regular Saturday, and I am concerned by our acceptance of sin in our lives.
This past Saturday, the first of Lent, despite the strong encouragement, we had fewer for confession than usual. I was discouraged and frustrated, but am cautiously optimistic that more will come to be forgiven as the weeks progress.
Isaiah speaks for the Lord (Is.55:10-11) in reminding us that his word shall not return to him void, but will do his will. Just as the rain and snow come down from heaven to water the earth, making it fruitful and fertile before returning to the heavens, so too will God's word.
When we take the WORD in stride, paying little attention to its place in our lives or ignoring it altogether, then very little is accomplished. When we take Jesus and our relationship with him in stride ... when we take the Word of God in the scriptures in stride ... when we accept our place within the Church as routine or peripheral, then nothing is accomplished and God's desires are frustrated. Can we afford that to happen? Thank God for his patience and undying love! And thank God for an open heart, a responsive spirit, and the wisdom to be attentive.