|Misión la Purísima, southern California|
It blows me away that we’re heading into the third weekend of Lent already.
And I am ashamed to confess that I haven’t been – or felt – very penitential so far this Lenten season.
If I’m honest with myself, there are certainly things that I could be doing different, or better, to “get into” Lent. I know, at least at some level, that there are abundant graces waiting for me in the work that discipline and sacrifice requires.
I’ve had a lot going on inside me since Lent began, but the reality is that what I’ve been feeling doesn’t feel very Lenten.
I have felt, for example, unusually calm, peaceful. I find myself smiling at the simplest things or moments. And I’ve had more joy… about life, as it is, than I remember experiencing in a long time.
It doesn’t sound like Lent, does it?
What I'm talking about doesn't have anything to do with a genuine Theology of Lent. I'm talking about that irrational part of me that thinks a good Lent has to be dark, difficult, and work—lots of work.
Yet thankfully, in those moments of grace where I’ve been able to set aside my intense and perpetual Cuban-Catholic guilt –and that unrelenting voice that continually reminds me how much I messed up, or that I don’t do enough, or that I got it wrong, again, or that I am not enough, etc. etc. etc.—then I can humbly see that there is, indeed, one thing that I’m “working” on this Lent.
It’s not something you can see, or measure, or tally in any form.
It’s simple, really… I’m “working” on letting go... so that God can work in me. What does that look like?
I told Jesus in my Ash Wednesday prayers that I wanted more. I want my relationship with Him to be more real, more genuine. I want my desire for Him to be more urgent. I want my prayer to be deeper. And I don’t want to be merely content with what has become my normal, no matter how good it looks or sounds from the outside. I want more.
I also acknowledged then—and many times since that Ash Wednesday prayer, that I realize that this is not something that I can do, or something that I can work for, or something that I can even shoot to acquire.
But I told Jesus that I want it anyway. This is my heart’s desire. And I told him that I’m willing to wait for Him.
My real work right now is to show up to prayer…
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This past weekend I accompanied Michael on a work-trip to Malibu, a place I’ve grown to love more and more with each visit.
At the risk of boring you with beach photos, I do want to share with you a few of my favorite pictures of that incredible southern California coastline... I hope you enjoy them!
[All photos © Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda, 2015,
taken with my iPhone 5s... I am a fan!]