An Invitation for Lent 2017
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” (From the Serenity Prayer)
There is so much in life completely beyond our control. Most of us spend years and years fighting against that. And most of us mark the beginning of our spiritual pilgrimage by a time when we finally came to accept that something was beyond our ability to fix or resolve. There we came to find a new sense of freedom. We could begin to let go of whatever it was that ruled us. And we could begin to discover that God was doing some healing work in our lives. That freedom is life-giving.
After we begin to let go of things beyond our control, we come to experience a perhaps even deeper invitation: to tend to things within our control. Many times we are so busy trying to control the things completely beyond us that we have shirked responsibilities in the areas that really only we can control. After we let go we are called to take up. From that combination – and it takes both – comes true serenity.
It’s amusing to hear powerful and influential people make excuses for not having a healthy spiritual discipline. “I’m too busy.” “I don’t know how to pray.” “I intend to make time but life keeps getting in the way.” People who can run big companies, order busy families, and make huge decisions often abdicate responsibility for reflection.
This may be why many are drawn to the season of Lent where we are encouraged to take up a prayer discipline for 40 days. Once again, I’ll make a promise: begin your day with scripture reading and quiet reflection and you will grow closer to God. Most everything in life gets better quickly and remarkably when we begin our day this way.
This Lent I encourage you to read the lesson assigned for each day, read the reflection offered here, and then sit quietly for 20 minutes and just be with yourself and God. 40 days makes a good habit. Good spiritual habits provide grounding for our life with Christ.
May this Lent be holy for you. Let go of things beyond yourself. Take up that which it within your control. Make a place for serenity with Christ.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.