A time for unselfish desire
February 20, 2012
by Fr. Thomas Balluff, St. Mary of Czestochowa Church, Delano

Lent is just around the corner. In fact, this coming week, we partake in the Ash Wednesday Mass, the beginning of the season of Lent.

At this Mass, in part of the liturgy, we come forward to receive ashes in the form of a cross on our foreheads. The ashes are symbolic of our own mortality – that someday, we all must suffer a physical death in these bodies of ours.

Because of original sin from our first parents, Adam and Eve, we all must suffer the ultimate end of our life in this world. After death, our bodies will decompose into dust and go back into the ground. However, this is not the end of the story.

Although, we are made in the image of God, to be a Christian, our lot is to suffer and we are called to pick up our crosses daily, to die to ourselves in imitation of Christ’s death on the cross. We are called to die to ourselves every day, into a deeper conversion of heart, to die to our preferences, our desires, our expectations, etc. It is all part of the process of becoming an intimate friend of our Lord.

Remember that it cannot ever be about me. It cannot ever be about why I want it, when I want it, how I want it, or what I expect it to be. When we fall into this way of thinking, it becomes all about me, but a healthy spiritual perspective always makes it about God – what does God want, when does God want it, how does God want it done, what does God expect?

We must learn to let go of our self-centered, egotistical, selfish ways of thinking and seeing things, and learn to see our world the way God sees it. This is what Lent is all about – offering up the many little comforts in life in order to be more open to, and aware of the spiritual graces and blessings God tries to give us.

We are called to a deeper, unselfish way of seeing things, especially during the Lenten season. Let us offer up whatever we can in order to help us see things the way God sees them in our daily lives.

When we do this well, our spiritual life takes on a whole new dimension. As a result of dying to self and living life in the Spirit, peace and joy, healing and strengthening become part of our life.

In other words, what is the end of the story? After we celebrate the great mysteries of our faith during Holy Week, particularly, Holy Thursday (the gift of Holy Communion at the Last Supper), Good Friday (Jesus is crucified for our sins opening up the gates of heaven for all), and Holy Saturday (Jesus is laid in the tomb), we then experience Easter Sunday. If we persevere with Jesus through it all, we will someday reign with Him in heaven.

Let us enter into this Lenten season with hearts full of generous, unselfish desire to go the extra mile, to really practice our faith, really put God first in our life. The more we get it right, the more peace and joy, the more grace and blessings we will receive.