It has been a Lent of longing for me. A longing for the consolation of God, a longing for deep and meaningful friendships, a longing to make my wonderful marriage even better, and, yes, a longing for all of those desserts that I gave up. And now I long to lay my eyes on the images in our church that are shrouded in purple–to see the Easter lilies adorn the altar as a symbol of new life, hope, and eternal joy.
Living with longing is difficult. Our human nature, a victim of today’s culture, wants to “fix it”–fix it now! Our bodies and our hearts yearn to be satisfied. But that is not the purpose of Lent. Satisfaction as we know it on earth does not fulfill us, but rather the realization that God alone can satisfy.
A child with a healthy attachment to his parents misses them deeply when they are away. He longs for them because he loves them–because in his small world, they are the mirror that reflects who he is. They are his life.
This is why we sacrifice. This is why we struggle to accept God’s plan when things or people we love are taken away from us. This is why we carry on in faith when even God Himself seems to have disappeared from our interior life.
Because our attachments need to be tested. It is when we recognize our longings that we know where we are headed. This is yet another way to become like those little children who yearn for the love of their parents. This is how we know if our heart will lead the rest of our being to do whatever it takes to return to our Father in heaven.
This Holy Week, I will look at those shrouds of purple, the bare church, and the solemn faces of the faithful, and embrace the uncomfortable feeling of loneliness, starvation, and longing that envelops me. Because that is exactly how I should be feeling. Because that is causing my Lord’s heart to swell with love and gratefulness that His child recognizes she is nothing without Him.