So, this is the first Sunday of Lent, and I have already encountered the first struggle.
After choosing something I wanted to do for the season, I heard what was simultaneously the best and the worst homily this morning. (#superlatives)
Today's Gospel focused on the temptations of Jesus before he began his public ministry. Our presider reminded us that the temptations we face are not really between good and evil, but rather they are a temptation where we must choose if we will rely on ourselves or if we will rely on God.
Adam and Eve decided to go it alone. Jesus? Not so much.
Then, here comes the punchline: "The greatest (note: superlative) temptation we face during Lent is to believe that we can effect our own conversion."
I repeat: The greatest temptation we face during Lent is to believe that we can effect our own conversion.
And with those words from Fr. Jim, I knew I had a problem on my hands.
You see, I had already decided how my Lenten action would help me grow into a better person. But, this morning I was reminded that it is not for me to decide.
Sure, I can choose how I want to live to my life, but I don't get to choose how I will grow and what will cause that growth. I can choose to be open to life, but I cannot choose what life will come my way.
This certainly isn't easy stuff, but it is how we are called to live.
Jim also reminded us that this Lenten journey isn't about morality; it is about wisdom.
So, I pray that however God decides to use me this Lent, that I might be open to the wisdom that lives in the experience.
May you, too, be open.
Let us walk in the holy presence.