Awareness of our sinfulness and recognition of God’s compassion can be easy or difficult. It’s easy to say, yes, I am a sinner, but at the same time be unmoved to repentance. It’s difficult to admit our sinfulness, when the awareness cuts deeply, when we are made aware of our participation in evil and our capacity to do evil.
It’s especially this difficult awareness that can move us to conversion and change of heart. In doing so, it’s important also that we have an awareness of the boundless mercy of God. The call of Lent is to move beyond our sinfulness and follow the lead of the Spirit in our life.
Following the Spirit is not new to us. We do it when we act with charity, when we give of ourselves to others, when we sacrifice for others, when we do the best we can in the situations we find ourselves in. The paradox of Christianity is that we are enriched by our generosity and impoverished by our selfishness.
The desert fathers have a saying, “Go to your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” It’s an invitation to go deeper in our reflection and in our living. It’s also the invitation of Lent, to reflect on God’s presence in our life and to grow in a generous response to God’s love for us.
“The measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6:38)