Last Friday, our five year old granddaughter burst into our kitchen, saw the bust of Our Lord with the crown of thorns and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, what happened to Jesus?? That bust has been placed on our table during Lent for many years and I can honestly say that no one has ever had a reaction as profound. I tried to give our sweet Miss Fliss a brief explanation of what actually happened to Jesus.
As I was pondering that conversation later that evening, I was forced to ask myself again that very question. What really happened? Why did it all happen? What am I supposed to do with that knowledge about an incredibly brutal event that took place over 2000 years ago? It’s love! It’s all about love! We were created to love and be loved! That is truly the only reason we exist and precisely why that gruesome event happened! That is what these forty days are all about. We realign our priorities in order to be reminded that, above all things, we are loved by a creator and we are called to love Him back.. It’s about setting aside some earthly treasures so we can see God more clearly and see ourselves as God sees us.
I have always felt like lent is a little bit of heaven on earth. In heaven we won’t need things, or oxygen, or the ability to walk, or chocolate. All we will need or want is God. There will be no other need or want. Being with God for all eternity will complete our existence. It’s pretty mind boggling, really.
Later that day in the car, after we attended Mass and stations, I heard a little voice from the back seat. The ever intelligently conversant Miss Fliss asked, “Grandma, are you going to let Jesus rise from the dead after three days?” “Well”, I told her as I chuckled, “I don’t think I really have any say in the matter because God is all powerful and it’s in His divine plan” She responded with, “So I’m guessing you think it’s a good idea?” At this point I realized my attempt at catechising may have been somewhat incomplete.
But as I later pondered the question, I realized how insightful her question really was. God never forces His love on us. He allows us to choose Him, to choose His love. And this is exactly what lent is all about. By detaching ourselves from earthly things, we are telling Our Lord (and ourselves) that we are giving Him a great big YES! “Yes, I do love YOU more than I love these things and I accept your love fully and completely into my heart and I hope and pray that I can love you more and more!” Thank you Miss Fliss!