« Mardi Gras and Carnival | Main | Words for Lent »

March 1, 2006

Rend Your Hearts, Not Your Garments

The fast that is acceptable to the Lord is the fast that helps us see Him more clearly. Any other kind of fast is a self-indulgence--a source of spiritual boastfulness. The Lord tells Isaiah that the fast He wants has nothing to do with not eating, but rather, with feeding those who do not have enough and giving justice to those who languish for lack of it.

Joel tells us to "Rend your hearts, not your garments." Rending our hearts helps to break up the stony, dried-up surface. Our hearts like soil without water grow hard and impermeable to grace. When we rend our hearts we make them like the fields of the farmer freshly plowed, we break up the clods and make our hearts arable. The seed will have good soil to fall into.

What form should this rending of the heart take? God alone knows. Each person must follow the path that He has in mind for them. But part of what we can do is turn more often to prayer and to the little things we neglect. In the morning read the Mass reading and take into the day a single verse or phrase to use as a prayer for the rest of the day. Today for example it might be a phrase from the psalm, "Create a clean heart in me, O Lord." Or from the prophet, "Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful."

This little word will help to break up the hardness of spirit that has overcome me. It will penetrate through the dried up surface. It becomes the seed that will take on new life through grace if only I will cooperate.

Now is the acceptable time, now is the season of Salvation. Hear Him and go to Him. Let your fast be a fast that brings a fastness in the Lord. Lent is a time of growth, of renewal in the roots that will blossom forth at Easter. The dead of winter is passing and we are moving into new life. Let it flow. Let God flow, from your lips, from your actions, from your heart.

May God bless all of us with His grace and mercy. May He give us new and human hearts. May He give us eyes that see Him and ears that hear Him in the ordinary circumstances of the day. Seize this day the opportunity to hear Him in all that happens around you. He is there and He is waiting for you to turn to Him with your whole heart. It can be done.

Posted by Steven Riddle at March 1, 2006 9:04 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


The above post is a keeper. Thank you.

Posted by: psalm 41 at March 1, 2006 11:37 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Please enter the security code you see here