Devotional Thought of the Day:
“Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not lament, do not weep!”—for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 10 He continued: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD is your strength!” 11 And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Silence! Today is holy, do not be saddened.” 12 Then all the people began to eat and drink, to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been explained to them. Nehemiah 8:9–12 New American Bible. .
10 Think about what the Holy Spirit says, and let yourself be filled with awe and gratitude: Elegit nos ante mundi constitutionem—he chose us before the foundation of the world, ut essemus sancti in conspectu eius!—that we might be holy in his presence. To be holy isn’t easy, but it isn’t difficult either. To be holy is to be a good Christian, to resemble Christ. The more closely a person resembles Christ, the more Christian he is, the more he belongs to Christ, the holier he is. And what means do we have? The same means the early faithful had, when they saw Jesus directly or caught a glimpse of him in the accounts the Apostles and Evangelists gave of him.
As my church has spent Lent considering what repentance is, one thing becomes clearer and clearer. Lent, while a solemn season, while a penitential season, is one filled with joy because it is filled with hope.
As Ezra read the Torah to the people of God, as the Spirit called to mind their sin, there was a grieving that took place, as people considered generation after generation of sin, as well as their own. And yes, a repentant sin does need an examination of conscience, as we approach our confession. But even that confession is done with expectation, clinging to the promise of God’s faithfulness.
We have to remember that a repentant life is a transformed life, a life where God is working on us, recreating us, cleansing us. This work of God, this masterpiece He is creating, is what repentance granted us is really about.
It is getting used to living in the light, as opposed to floundering in the darkness! It is walking around, free in Christ, free to be with Christ, rather than being chained to sin, anxiety, fear, and resentment.
It is the simplicity that St. Josemaria talks of, of simply living life, confident and aware of the presence of God, revealed in His word, communicated in the sacraments. It is when we catch that glimpse and hold onto it, letting everything else fall aside. It is isn’t easy, as our old nature will fight to stay alive, yet it is as easy as realizing we are Jesus’ friends, the Father’s children, His people. And that realization, especially when we know it isn’t right because we don’t we deserve it, but rather is right because God granted us this repentant life.
Repentance is not an act, any more than conversion is, and more than faith is a declaration of our trust. It is a state of being, it is being “the Repentant”, a joyous walk with a God that loves us, and is willing to forgive, showing mercy, and faithful, unending love!
Cry out, “Lord have mercy!” but do it in faith, and in expectation, for you dwell in His presence! AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 270-276). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.