The Lenten journey is one of faith, faith in God, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the promises made to us by God. This means that the Lenten journey is likely a challenging one, for we are raised in a culture that is inclined to believe that we are to be masters of our own destiny, that we are to live by self-propulsion, The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson capture this thinking well: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
In contrast to such thinking, St. Paul speaks of faith, which turns us towards an Other. As he says in this Sunday’s second reading (Romans 4:13-25), we share the faith of Abraham in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist…Hoping against hope.
Beyond the immediately verifiable, the scientifically measurable and the emotionally felt, beyond ourselves, thanks to faith, we touch a transcendent God, Who loves us and Who is closer than all of this and we are to ourselves. And, in such intimate relationship, in faith, we can have the utmost confidence—as did Abraham, who did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
We are the people of God’s faithful presence and God’s promises. Sometimes, we struggle to believe because there is no proof and no feeling. And then, somehow, if we try to let our hearts be quiet, and we utter some expression of trust, something surfaces in us, and we sense that are not alone. And, the wish expressed in the 1926 song from the musical “Oh, Kay”, composed by George and Ira Gershwin, “Someone to Watch Over Me” becomes an experience of promise divinely fulfilled:
There's a somebody
I'm longin' to see.
I hope that he turns
Out to be
Someone to watch over me.
Trusting in the promises with you,
Fr. Dominique Rector
From the desk of the Rector