April 1, 2022

Pastoral Ministries / Brie Anne Varick

Let the Lord reform and transform your heart this Lent

Brie Anne VarickDuring a recent Mass, the Holy Spirit led me to focus on a line from a reading from the book of Deuteronomy: “For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it, as the Lord our God is to us?” (Dt 4:7).

My heart was moved with gratitude for the real presence of God who comes to us in the Word. The living God reveals himself through Scripture and is so close to us that we can hear his voice.

The Holy Spirit led me deeper, and I was filled with joy at the even greater gift that was right before me in Church as I was participating in Mass.

Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, is before me, truly present in the Eucharist. Our living God fully alive in the Word was made flesh and is dwelling among us at every Mass and in every tabernacle throughout the world! What an honor and a privilege it is to be Catholic.

Do we truly appreciate this gift that has been given to us? Do we live as though we are this “great nation”? Do we live as God’s beloved chosen people who can call upon him or even go visit him at any parish?

I know I forget this truth: I am a beloved daughter of the king. I know that I struggle with feelings of unworthiness of such a wonderous love due to my own failures, sins and experiences. But the good news is that Jesus Christ came into our suffering and sinfulness to heal us, restore us, and transform us so that we could be in full communion with God the Father.

I wanted to share a reflection I recently composed after my own prayerful reading of Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Sister Miriam James Heidland’s Lenten journal “Restore.”

I hope that you can take it to adoration or a chapel. Ask the Lord what he wants to reveal in you and what he wants to heal in you this season of Lent. If we can remove the barriers in our heart that are blocking our view of Jesus, then maybe we can receive the truth that “we are a great nation” privileged to sit in the presence of our God. The following is my reflection:

Quiet your heart. Place yourself in the presence of the Lord. The Lord wants to show you he sees you. He wants to be near you, to love you and to heal you.

Remember the Lord only invites. He does not force, manipulate or pry us open. He is patient, and he sits with us. He is gentle. Listen to his voice. His voice is strong and unwavering, yet gentle and kind.

Sitting in his presence, there is peace. There is no judgment or anger. He understands our hesitations and our fears. He knows our sins and our weaknesses. He also knows who we were created to be and the abundant life he wants to give us.

Jesus waits until we are ready. Jesus wants us to follow him into the deep and hidden places of our heart. Jesus will always go before us; he only asks us to follow. Jesus knows these places, but he will not go where he is not invited. He respects our “Yes” and our “No.”

He gave us free will so we can choose him and invite him in. God is respectful and patient. He will wait. Let us invite him into the deep hidden places of our heart. What is Jesus inviting you to surrender? Ask him in the quiet of your heart and listen.

Maybe you already know what the Lord wants to heal, what the Lord wants to restore, and to transform. Is it an idol? Is it a habitual sin? Is it a desire that has yet to be fulfilled? Is it a relationship with a loved one? Maybe your relationship with God and the Church needs to be healed? Jesus understands, that’s why he is here. Jesus came to heal us and to restore us, to give us life, and to give it abundantly. Jesus’ mission is to fulfill the will of the Father. The will of the Father is to be united with God for eternity.

Some of us may not know what is blocking our journey toward God or why we close off parts of our hearts to Jesus. We have tried and tried, and yet we cannot seem to have a breakthrough. We are unable to move forward. Be at peace. Jesus knows what we need. Do not be afraid. Whatever Jesus reveals to us, he wants to heal and transform in us.

Take a moment to again ask quietly in your hearts: “Jesus, what are you inviting me to surrender to you?” “Jesus, what do you want to heal in me?” “Jesus, how do you see me?”

Listen to Jesus speak to you. Jesus speaks to each one of us uniquely. Sometimes it is with an image, sometimes it is with a word or Scripture, sometimes it is with a feeling. Take some time to see how the Lord wants to reveal his plan for you this Lent. What does he want to restore? What does he want to transform? What does he want to heal? Will you let him?

(Brie Anne Varick is director of the archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity.She can be reached at bvarick@archindy.org.) †

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