All of us have, at one time or another, named certain things as our “priorities.” From time to time, when we become aware of not doing something that is really important, we say, “I have to make that a priority.” Lent is an important time to do a top-to-bottom review of what we value and what we actually do in our everyday lives. Whenever we do this, we always discover that something needs realigning. We discover that there are values we hold, commitments we’ve made, growth we desire that simply don’t make it on the list of our actual priorities, that is, the things that take the “first place” in our lives. For example, I might say, “My family is my first priority.” But my family might say otherwise. I might say, “My faith is among my top priorities.” But an honest self-examination may show otherwise. I may say that I understand and believe the teaching of Christ that we will be judged on how we care for the least of our brothers and sisters. But it may be true, upon serious reflection, that only rarely does feeding, clothing, or caring for these people become things that I actually do. A thorough review of what is most important to us, and what seems to be important to us by virtue of what we actually do, is prime Lenten activity. If what we are hoping to do during Lent is to grow in personal freedom, based upon our growing sense of God’s love for us, and our clearer vision, of who we are, and our deepening desire to be more closely aligned with the heart of Jesus, then we will want to do this personal review very carefully. How else will we ever be
able to break old self-defeating habits and secure the establishment of new ones that help us be who we want to actually be before God? I invite you to ask this question. Who am I and what is my purpose in life? In order to review what we really value we have to first be sure we know who we are and what we are called to be. Let us make this Lent a time to search our hearts and lives for how what we actually do matches up with what we say we value in light of who we believe we are.