In our Lent Devotional for Women today, we’re talking about the original attachment parenting model, God the Father. First, before we get into this much, watch for a common thread as we work through this Lent Devotional for Women.
Now, in a scripture passage from Ezekiel, we read a repeated string of “I…” God is so hands-on with us it’s not even funny. There is nothing we can do, nowhere we can go or anything we face that He doesn’t already know about.
And yet, we worry our pretty little heads off, on a daily basis, as if He wasn’t hands-on parenting the whole time.
Let’s go ahead and dig a little deeper into the readings for today.
Today’s readings (in the extraordinary form) are so beautiful. First, we have the scriptures from Ezekiel describing our Lord’s careful and attentive love for us. Our Lord states, “I Myself will seek my sheep…I will visit my sheep…I will bring them out…I will feed them…I will cause them to lie down…I will seek…I will bring…I will bind…I will strengthen…I will preserve.”
Look how hands-on and possessive God our Father is of His own children!
And in the Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46, God shows us that He wants us to imitate Him and be hands-on as well.
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.
32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.
36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. ‘
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? ‘
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.
42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me. ‘
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
This Gospel is all about the Works of Mercy. Do you realize we have the opportunity every.single.day to perform the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy for our fellow brothers and sisters?
We began by reading all about what God does for us and then followed it with Jesus’ reminder that all we do for the least, we actually do for Him.
Is it just me, or do the Works of Mercy not seem as, I don’t know, “spiritual” when they are just a part of our everyday life, in our ordinary homes, doing our ordinary things?
If we performed them in the local homeless shelter on a cold, winter’s day or with our Church ministries and programs or even as an adventurous missionary in a faraway land! Now you’re speaking my servant love language!
Who volunteers to clean the church, work in the soup kitchen or hold babies in the daycare, but when called to do those same things at home, well, we can get a touch grumpy. Just me? Figures.
*Quickly in case you didn’t know the Works of Mercy they are divided into two groups: Corporal and Spiritual. The Corporal Works of Mercy are: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead. The Spiritual Works of Mercy are: instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, bear wrongs patiently, pray for the living and the dead.
How much more love would I put into getting a sippy cup of water if I considered doing it as a Corporal Work of Mercy for one of the least of my Father’s children? Instead, sometimes I feel like I’m serving an unruly crowd that can never be satisfied!
Now, you may put all the love you can possibly squeeze into it already…me? Not so much all the time. What if I undertook meal planning and preparation as if serving God instead of stinky soccer-playing children, or moody teens, or siblings who pick the living daylights out of each other?
God very plainly states in the scriptures, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” I’ve talked before about a lovely quote from St. Therese, “Nothing except for today.” I need these words tattooed across my hands so I could see them constantly! Not only would those words unburden me from the replay in my head of the phrase, “I always do this…and I always do that…and what do I get in return…do they even say thank you…” Those words and the reminder from Jesus of how to serve Him by serving the least of His gives me a very concrete focus to live and serve all day, every day.
Today I will look on the task of _______________________ as if doing it directly for my God and do it FULL of love by choice, not by feeling, just for today.
Click here for all the Lent Devotional for Women posts.