As we begin the season of Lent, we recall that God’s constant, loving yearning is to give us life. God is determined to forgive us and welcome us back, no matter what we have done or how we have failed.
Pope Benedict XVI will refer to the ‘law of excess or superfluity’ that runs through the whole of salvation history, finding its clearest expression in Jesus. The Pope emeritus sees this law as “the righteousness of God, which goes far beyond what need be, which does not calculate, which really overflows.” God’s greater love infinitely surpasses the failing efforts of human beings. God refuses to let us go.
This is the real source and ground for all our Lenten observances. God’s grace does not wait upon my change of heart. It is only the grace of God that turns my heart around. It is the mercy of God who loves me, that draws me to plead for his pardon and to trust his forgiveness. In a way our Lenten pleadings for God’s mercy, in whatever form they take (prayer, fasting, almsgiving), are really a response on our part; an echo reverberating God’s plea for us “to return to him with all our heart.”
Reflection by Abbot Damian.