Will you join me this Lent in returning to our Lord with our whole hearts? Each day of Lent, I’ll post a few lines that will hopefully draw us more deeply into the heart of our Suffering Savior. Please feel free to add lines of your own. Our holy Catholic Church is a community of believers, and I’m not the only who has beautiful insights.

Here we go…

The readings for Holy Mass are the same each Lent, and I particularly like the readings for Ash Wednesday. My favorite line is from the First Reading, taken from the Book of Joel, Chapter 2. We don’t hear much from Joel during the rest of the year, so for me this is a wonderful treat.

“Rend your hearts, not your garments”, Joel says.

To rend means to tear into two or more pieces. In ancient times, folks would rend their garments as a symbol of mourning or repentance. What, then, does it mean to rend our hearts? What would cause us to tear them into two or more pieces?

For me, it’s the reality that I – in spite of my best efforts – am responsible for our Lord’s Passion and Crucifixion. To rend my heart means to tear it to pieces, smaller and yet smaller, until I find every last speck of selfishness, pride, and rebellion. It means digging as deeply as I can to rip out anything that separates me from God.

Difficult? Certainly. Painful? Oh, definitely. But unless I do this, I’ll be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. I might look like a follower of Christ on the outside, but on the inside, I’ll still be in need of some serious rending.

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