Maybe this Lent isn’t about how much I give or give up for God–maybe it’s about how much and how often my heart is open to receive what God wants to give me. And maybe, if you’re anything slightly like me, it’s much easier to give than to receive. Giving is active and receiving seems so passive. But is it? Passive? Looking through the new Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling Kit and the numerous Biblical characters it focuses on who received from God–I wouldn’t call them passive characters.
Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Nehemiah, Peter and even Jesus all were on the receiving end of God’s amazing promises and yet we don’t think of them as passive characters in the Bible.
In our own life, think of the someone who we consider as having a direct line to God–so to say. When you think about this person or these people, do you conjure up images of someone just sitting around, waiting on God to speak, bless, encourage or instruct them? In my own life, when I think of men and women who seem so in tune to the Will of God–I see a strong, elderly, tough German woman. I see a quiet, unassuming, ever faithful family who is always available to serve the Church and Her parishioners. I see a middle age man rushing here and there to make sure all things are as they should be to make the Mass run smoothly. I see a young momma with a baby strapped on her back and a toddler circling her legs as she rounds up food and drinks for the next potluck. I see young girls beginning to transition to young women and stepping into servant-leadership roles at our parish. In not one of these instances do I recall a passive-servant heart. These men, women and young girls are on the move, serving and leading, growing and maturing in the service of God. But they are giving from what they have received.
I see these people moving and doing for God…but I also quietly observe them, being quiet and receiving from our Lord. Out of the corner of my eye I see them bow their head and close their eyes, if only for a minute and I know, they are listening. I see them stop in the Adoration chapel before or after Mass and I know, they are seeking. I’m on the receiving end of their conversations and I know, the love they are speaking comes out of the love they have received.
So what about us? What about this Lent? Are we giving–giving–giving without being open to receive? Are we charging forth with a battle cry of “All for the glory of God!” Without opening our hearts to receive what it is God really wants for us? Did I make you squirm?
While Bible journaling in Psalm 24 the other night, I looked up synonyms for the word “manfully.” I was pondering verse 14 and in the Catholic Journaling Bible, the translation states, “Wait for the Lord, act manfully; and let your heart be strengthened, and remain with the Lord.” Some synonyms for “manfully” were: audaciously, boldly, bravely, confidently, fearlessly, firmly, heroicly, powerfully. These are not weak words describing how weak Christians should act.
Maybe, our strength is in the act of receiving and not so much in the giving. Maybe the weak can give but only the strong can receive?
Maybe, for the rest of this Lent, instead of focusing on what we’re giving up, let’s focus on what we’re receiving.