“The self-denial involved in the period of Lent isn’t about just giving up chocolates or beer; it’s about trying to give up a certain set of pictures of God which are burned into our own selfish wants.” ~ Rowan Williams
This evening begins the holiest week of the year, appropriately named Holy Week. It begins with the celebration of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord and progresses through the holiest days of all, the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) to Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord. During those days, we will examine in greater detail the struggle, passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord.
In order to do so as clearly as possible, we have to remove the self-imposed pictures we have of God in our own minds. For too many people, God is a God of convenience. He is a God who grants wishes. He is a God who is there in emergency situations. He is also a God that should stay conveniently away when He is not needed.
How can anyone ever say that God is not needed? How could anyone say that God is only there for our convenience, our wants, our desires? How could anyone equate God with a magic genie? The answer to that is simple: we grow into those images of God.
When we do not have a good, solid, honest relationship with God, we tend to paint Him as we see fit. That distorts the truth of who He is, though. If we are going to make any progress at all in our spirituals lives, we need to set those images of God aside and do all that we can to see Him as He is.
To do that takes trust, trust in God. Too often, we trust more in ourselves than in God. It takes humility. We need to remember that we are not the center of the universe and that we need the help of others in general and of God in particular. It takes perseverance. That relationship with God doesn’t come easily. We need to strip away all the layers of our humanity that we have placed in the way of God.
It’s difficult. It might even be extremely, exceedingly difficult. But it’s not impossible as long as we ask God to come into our lives and show Himself to us as He is and not as we wish to see Him. It’s a good thing that God loves us so much and is willing to wait for us to invite Him into our lives in a deeper way.
Holy Week is about struggle. Grapple with your sinfulness. Fight against your pride. Battle temptation. There is victory waiting for you on the other side of your struggle.
FAITH ACTION: Ask God to reveal Himself more fully to you during Holy Week.