Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Today's Mass Readings


At some point we’ve all heard the expression, “and that made a believer out of me.” It could be about buckling your seatbelts after seeing a terrible accident. It could be about the change in someone’s health as they took up regular exercise and a balanced diet. Or it could be about how a person’s attitude and behavior can change for the better when treated with dignity, respect, and genuine loving concern.

We could probe a little deeper and ask, “what does it mean to believe?” Is it a matter of knowledge and information? Today, if someone is hesitant to believe in the most important elements about life, it’s surely not for lack of information. Cyberspace is awash with information as well as misinformation.

Lent is meant to take us to deeper levels of belief with regard to our relationship with God. Yes, there is a great deal of teaching and wisdom shared with us throughout these 40 days, material we’ve heard so many times before. But there is a “Lenten factor” that goes deeper than the written or spoken word.

What is the “Lenten factor?” Perhaps it’s the work of the Holy Spirit inviting us to open new ways of learning and opening us to a deeper sensitivity to the personal love God has for each of us. This “Lenten factor” moves us to believe not just with our heads but from our hearts. St. Benedict simply tells us that our lives should be Lenten in character at all times. Does that mean always looking for penance? Hardly! It means allowing the Holy Spirit to stir up the hunger of our hearts to be satisfied by nothing less than believing that Jesus the Son of God is always with us and that calls for a response. That’s the “Lenten factor!”

Reflection questions
1) Do your deepest beliefs cause you to desire to do something more?
2) Do you ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to respond?

Reflection by Fr. Daniel Petsche, OSB

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