WHAT THE FATHER DESIRES
Lent is a gift that offers you and me opportunities to go back to the deepest reality of our human origin. Lent is enclosed / attached with a sure affirmation of saving love. If the opening message of Lent is “Remember you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”, the climactic message of Lent is “Friends, from now on you will live eternally in the risen love of Christ.” If Lent starts as a reminder to us about the truth of our passing earthly journey, the climax of Lent leads us to the truth of self-sacrifice Jesus on the Cross from which pours down the eternal life in the resurrection. If the entrance of Lent is an invitation for you and me to return to the experience of how much we need God – the Loving Father – the exit of Lent leads us back to the Father who is standing waiting for us. That Father does not care about our past. He is always our Father and He only cares about one thing: whether or not we still consider Him as our Father and whether or not we want to continue living in His home to be taken care of by Him. Our Father knows so well that we will not have true happiness if we do not let him take care of us. (Luke 15)
Lent is the season of contemplating the unconditional love of our Father. It is the time for us to return to the Love that goes beyond all boundaries, all the deep of guilt. May the works that serve as ‘preparations’ such as confession, fasting, almsgiving… not become distractions and obstacles for the intimate and confident encounter of Father – Child. May the Confessional be an opportunity for our mouth to tell the stories of our straying away so our ears hear the words of forgiveness and welcoming back of our Father. May our fasting be an opportunity for you and me to realize how much we need God and for us to be compassionate towards those who are unfortunate, materially and spiritually. May our works of charity not be for earning merits but be an act of sincere sharing and communion with our brothers and sisters who have the same heavenly Father with us.
The love of our Father is greater than anything. Nothing can prevent that love, even the most terrible sin ever committed. If we have not had a chance to do any of the ‘preparation works’ above, we must not forget that our Father’s love for us is still whole. Sin can make us stray away from our Farther but it cannot take Him away from us. Therefore, He will be happier to have us coming to Him so that He can love us than to see us staying away from Him because we think we are not worthy. Worthy or unworthy does not exist in His love. The reason is not only that any of us is worthy of His love but His love is given as an unconditional gift.
His most constant longing is that His children, including you and I, come to Him so that He can embrace us and love us.
Joseph. Viet, O.Carm