Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What God wants for Lent

This year I have been giving particular attention to the Responsorial Psalm in the day's liturgy (after 30 years of focusing on the Gospel of the day). Today's Psalm isn't on my list of favorites, but it really spoke to me this time. In Psalm 50, God is telling his people (to use the words of St. Paul), "I don't want what you have; I want you." Surprise, surprise: God is not interested in bullocks and goats. He complains that the people are very careful about offering all the right sacrifices and following all the liturgical rules for worship, but they are withholding their hearts. "He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me." The Communion Antiphon (when's the last time you even noticed there was one?) underlines the same theme: "I will tell of all your marvelous works; I will rejoice and be glad and sing to your name, O Most High."
I remember reading a passage from a book written (at our Founder's request) almost a hundred years ago, which said, "God has so constituted man that he finds his greatest happiness in giving praise to God." Lent really aims to free us from the impediments to this praise and happiness. Do we live it that way?

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