Today, on Ash Wednesday, I share a reflection by our Sister Sally Lowell, OP
Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to your God. For gracious and merciful is God, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.
– Joel 2:13
Several years ago I was invited to make some clay hearts for a friend who was giving a Lenten Parish Retreat. Since she requested 500 hearts, I began the project right away. As I rolled, molded, shaped and held the clay in my hands a new image of Lent began to emerge. “Rend your hearts, not your garments and return to God.”
Yes, Lent is about giving up, letting go, prayer and alms-giving. Yet, for me, it is a time of invitation: an invitation to be open and receive what God has in store. In other words, Lent is a time of surrender and letting go so that Jesus can mold our hearts anew. The journey of Lent is an inner journey of prayer which enables us to offer our whole being to God: our joys and fears, accomplishments and struggles, successes and conflicts. This recognition of our gifts and limitations is difficult and scary, because when we cooperate with God’s desire for us, our hearts, like the clay I rolled, shaped, and molded will be transformed.
Jesus asks each of us for a change of heart this Lent. Will we let Jesus create in us new hearts that acknowledge our gifts so that we can use them to do God’s work? Will we let Jesus break any conflict, fear, or hardness within our hearts? Will we let Jesus change our hearts with his healing, forgiveness, and grace?
If we can make these changes and surrender to his invitation, the true freedom of Easter will emerge. Perhaps our Lenten mantra might be:Yes, mold our hearts today.
“When We cooperate with God’s desire for us, our hearts, like the clay I rolled, shaped, and molded, will be transformed.”
This reflection, and others throughout the season of Lent, can be found on the website of the Dominican Preachers for the Western Region – http://www.opwest.us/. You are invited to visit. May these reflections assist you in your prayer during Lent.