“I want to fall in love again with life and people and God. I want to be amazed by the world and all its beauty.” That’s what I wrote in my journal the first day I arrived at JVC:NW orientation, sitting by some picturesque stream, uncertain of what the year would bring, my spirit alive with the excitement of that new step, clueless as to the extent to which God would amaze and unmistakably change me.
For some reason, those lines have stayed with me. They are a touchstone of sorts, a reminder that in every job and relationship, every meeting and playdate and conversation – God is right there, in the midst of it all. Right there – touching us, speaking to us, expressed through us – loving us always!
Being in love with God does change everything! It emboldens us to do things we never would have imagined, empowers us to do that which we couldn’t have conceived, enables us to delight in the journey, and sustains us through it all.
Each year, Lent invites us deeper into this love relationship. “Return to me with your whole heart.” “Return” says so much. The One who first breathed life into us, who created us, gifted us, called us, sent us, who is now companioning us and who will one day welcome us home seeks us out and invites us to return with our whole hearts. What a love story! What an invitation to remember the One who first loved us and to recommit ourselves to being rooted in and living out of that love!
God unconditionally and unmistakably loves us. (Ahh, just rest there if you need.) Once we have a firm foothold in that love, in our world that is beautiful and broken, we discover a call to let that love shape us and all that we do. (And there is SO much to be done, isn’t there?) And when it is God’s love, freely and abundantly given to us, that is flowing through us, we are able to pass it along just as graciously.
It’s that — just that and all that – which we are working on at home this year, as 2-, 4-, 6-, 39- and 41-year-olds. “Fall in Love” by Fr. Pedro Arrupe expresses this beautifully:
Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
Let’s fall in love – again or for the first time – and let Love change everything.
p.s. Many blessings on your Lent! Our family’s Lenten theme this year is “Change My Heart, O God,” so the girls have been dancing around this week getting in the spirit of things and singing that song over and over. With lines like, “Help me be like You,” it will be a good reminder to us all. (And, as they still sing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” daily, I can only imagine that we’ll be hearing this song well into summer!)