One who fasts for sins, but goes and commits them again: Who will hear his prayer, what is gained by mortification? [Sir 34:31]
Lent is the time to deepen our loving relationship with our Lord. We practice self-sacrifice, good works, and prayer to strengthen our commitment to God to sin no more, not just for 40 days, but for a lifetime. Difficult, yes, but not impossible.
We are probably at the midway point of keeping our Lenten promises. Are we starting to lose our enthusiasm for what we pledged to do? If we find our commitment weakening as the devil tempts us with thoughts of futility, let us ponder our Lord’s commitment to each of us.
How Deep Is Our Commitment?
At the heart of our Lord’s commitment to us is love. When we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s grace and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit, God’s love gives us what we need to fortify our own commitment to be clean of heart, mind, and soul. Let us ask ourselves: Is our heart in our commitment to God? Does the love of God drive our efforts to remain free from sin or does our commitment wane at the conclusion of Lent?
We learn from Jesus and Mary that redemption and salvation require a lifelong effort that includes trials and tribulations. Oftentimes, events put us in a weakened and depleted state. We are tempted to abandon our faith and trust in God which exposes us to wants, desires, distractions, and doubts that lead to sin. Giving into temptation is easy when we are not fully committed to God’s will, Jesus’ redemptive work, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Faith and Trust
Faith and trust in God go hand in hand with love and commitment to God, otherwise there can be no lasting effort to avoid sin. Let our hearts not be troubled. True to her loving faith and trust in God, Mary was filled with grace and free from all power of sin. Mary can help us by drawing us close to Her Son, the manifestation of God’s loving commitment, and our Redeemer.
Jesus’ own 40-day journey in the desert demonstrates His love and commitment to His heavenly Father and to us. Christ’s victory over the devil in the desert and at the Passion frees us from the bonds of sin. By our Lord’s love and commitment, He shows His faith and trust in each of us to choose the path in life that leads to Heaven, and our Lord gives us His body, blood, soul, and divinity to help us on our journey.
Therefore, let us show our love and commitment to God by not reverting to familiar ways after Lent that may lead to sin. May we gain the strength during these 40 days to increase our faith and trust in God to guide us in all of our words and deeds. As we continue our journey let us remember: “To refrain from evil pleases the Lord, and to avoid injustice is atonement” [Sir 35:5].