A pregnant woman was walking in the store and met an old friend. Her friend exclaimed, “You are absolutely beaming!” The new life God placed in her womb radiated throughout her body. It was brightly visible on her face and in her eyes. Transformation and change usually happen from the inside out. It is very rare that simply imposing structure from the outside does any good. Yes, it is true that routines and habits can change when things are done differently. But, for this change to last there has to be an interior renewal and metamorphosis as well. Simply regulating behavior and bringing someone into conformity with accepted protocols doesn’t mean their heart and soul come with them.
Peter was a homeless man who lived in a very remote and rudimentary tent community. He was happy to make his daily trip to McDonald’s and always welcomed a gift card or two so that he could buy some coffee and something to eat.
A generous advocate worked to secure him an apartment in hopes of moving Peter out of his makeshift housing and into something safer. Peter finally got the grand tour of his new “digs,” received his own key, remarked how wonderful the place was, closed the door behind him when they left and never returned. He preferred his tent. No matter how much things changed on the outside, Peter was happy where he was. A poignant lesson was learned that day.
How is your Lent going? By now you ought to have a sense of whether you’re really “into it” this year and something transformational is happening. For many, it’s only the stuff on the outside that changes for a few weeks and then they return to business as usual.
For others, there are some real inner changes happening that are deepening their relationships with God, others, self, and creation.
If we are serious about moving to a new place and radiating with the presence of new life and joy, then we have to clear the way to listen for God’s call. Then, there is God’s request to change things up a bit and order our lives differently. After realizing we have been called and given a mission, we have to trust that this is where we need to be. And then, after all of this hard work we are asked to act. The fruit that is revealed will indicate whether our journey is authentic. The brilliance of conversion will begin to shine on our faces as we contemplate the One to whom we are asked to listen.