Column: Lent is the time to do some housecleaning

Vince Eimer is the spiritual and retreat director of Christ's Peace House of Prayer near Easton
Vince Eimer is the spiritual and retreat director of Christ’s Peace House of Prayer near Easton

by Vince Eimer

This is the second in Vince Eimer’s seven-part series on journeying through the Lenten season. 

Imagine a new relationship magazine called Loving God.

This one would focus on everyone’s most important relationship, the one with God. Unlike other similar magazines, the problems this one focuses on are all one-sided.

Look at the great commandment from God’s side: He loves us with all his heart, mind, soul and strength. His love is faithful and constant. Jesus asked St. Thérèse of Lisieux to tell us that he longs for our love. Stop and think about that! God passionately loves us. What kind of a return do we give him for his love? 

Let’s look inside the first issue and see what advice we get to become better lovers.

Do your best to love him as he loves you. Talk about becoming a great lover! God constantly pours his love into us. He is always giving. How can we love God like that? We cannot give anything to God that benefits him but, when we receive his gifts in all their variety and abundance, we can increase that love by giving it back to him in two ways.

The first way is by offering his love back to him as our gift. We give him the inner life of his gift — our life and all that we are and do — and ask him to use it for the good of others.

A simple way of doing this is to pray a morning offering. I do this when I wake up. I look at a crucifix and offer Jesus my all for the day: the good, bad and indifferent.

Why offer the bad and indifferent? Jesus loves and wants us as we are. By bringing our sinfulness to him, we trust in his love to transform our ugliness. When we offer ourselves throughout the day, he begins to change us into saints. Reminders of his presence in pictures and crucifixes help.

We also love God by being thankful. Gratitude is for the big gifts, like recovering from cancer, and for the smallest of things, like  blue skies and the smell of barbecue. Gratitude grows and can become second nature the more awake you become to the presence of God. This is possible through simplicity. If your life is simpler, gratitude will grow like a weed. It is difficult to be grateful if our lives are stuffed.

Lent is the time to do some housecleaning and make room for the Lord. The biggest space we need is more time with him. Once he has room to stretch within us, then gratitude just bubbles up from the source itself, naturally and easily.

This is the treasure hidden in a field. Sell off your excess stuff and go buy that field.

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