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Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24

This Lent we are taking you on a Lenten Mission, a spiritual checkup if you will. This is the key passage for our Lenten reflection:

And one of [the Pharisees], a lawyer, asked [Jesus] a question, to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40 (emphasis added)

Each Sunday during Lent, we will meditate on a portion of this passage. This will require slowing down from our normal routines so we can listen to God through His written word. With all meekness and humbleness, as we reflect on the two greatest commandments, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the condition of your spirit. Meditate and pray on each verse. What is the Spirit revealing to you? Do you need to repent of any spiritual sickness? Ask God to forgive you of your shortfalls. Pray for God to give you the grace to be better in the future. Make a commitment on how you are going to grow in one area.

“Yet even now,” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:12-13

You may be asking, “What does my relationship with God have to do with my relationships with my spouse and children? Having God as the first priority in our lives helps us to live our lives in proper order. Here is God’s order of priorities…

God’s Ideal…

  1. Jesus
  2. Spouse
  3. Children
  4. Work
  5. Everything else

Take a few minutes to reflect on your priorities. What do you treasure? Jot down your top three priorities – be open and honest.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21

What things are keeping you from following God’s ideal order? What are some concrete actions you can take to get your life in order?

Discuss with your spouse things you can do as a couple to put God at the center of your marriage. Examples are daily prayer, reading Scripture together, or studying Church teachings on marriage and family.

For the next three Sundays of Lent, we will be looking at the Great and First Commandment:

2nd Sunday in Lent: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Matthew 22:37a

3rd Sunday in Lent: “You shall love the Lord your God with all you…soul…” Matthew 22:37b

4th Sunday in Lent: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your…mind.” Matthew 22:37c

The following two Sundays, we will focus on the Second Commandment:

5th Sunday in Lent:You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

6th Sunday in Lent: “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:40

The goal of this mission reflection is to rid ourselves of anything that keeps us from loving God and neighbor as He commands in Scripture. In the process, we will fall deeper in love with God and with our spouse, children and neighbors. In the words of St. John Paul II:

Lent is a time of profound truth, which brings conversion, restores hope and, by putting everything back in its proper place, brings peace and optimism.

Lent is a time that makes us think about our relationship with “Our Father”; it re-establishes the order that should reign between brothers and sisters. Lent is a time that makes us jointly responsible for one another; it detaches us from our selfishness, small-mindedness, meanness and pride; it is a time that enlightens us and makes us understand better that we too, like Christ, must serve.

Lent is a time of truth, which, as in the case of the Good Samaritan, makes us pause, recognize our brothers and sisters, and put our time and possessions at their service in daily sharing. The Good Samaritan is the Church! The Good Samaritan is every man and woman! By calling! By duty! The Good Samaritan lives charity … Let us examine ourselves sincerely, honestly and simply. Our brothers and sisters are there among the poor, the sick, the outcast, the aged. What sort of love do we have? What sort of truth?[1]

[1] John Paul II, Message of His Holiness John Paul II for Lent 1981, internet: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/messages/lent/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_04031981_lent-1981.html (accessed February 20, 2021).