There is a one year old in my life. She is a wonderful human being, and I don’t know much about who she is. If I were to describe her behaviors to anyone who knows children well, they would say, not that I am describing an introvert, extrovert, artist or scientist, but that I am describing a one year old. I think I have discerned that she thinks before she acts more than some other children her age, and that she doesn’t seem to have much fear. There are a few unique traits that I have been able to discern. But for the most part, who she is is slowly unfolding and remains a mystery. We love her for who she is as much as we can discern that and beyond. But she is still at the beginning.
I have been learning a lot more about myself lately, and that is normal for my age and for any age. As we grow and mature, we learn more of who we are. As others grow and mature, we can see more of who they are. I am surprised sometimes at the deep thoughts of my nephews who have grown far beyond the toddlers I used to know.
I went to an evening Lenten retreat. One of the points that the speaker made is that when we do things to escape, such as eating ice cream when sad, movie binges when lonely, more benign actions and much worse actions for that purpose, we rob ourselves of our humanity. We are not facing what is in us. We can’t ponder our feelings or perceptions when we numb ourselves. We are not growing. We are not becoming more human. We are losing ourselves.
The desires of our hearts show us who we are. As St. Catherine said in the Italian of the 1300s, ”Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Her words been translated many ways. But as we follow that sense in our hearts of what we truly want, and as we become more ourselves, not only are we happier people, but we make a huge difference to those around us, and, even if not seen, to the world.
We have a little less than two weeks in Lent. Those of us who do Lent and who give things up for it may have failed. We may be running out of steam. We just read at Mass how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Let’s let him raise us from the dead too. Where are we hiding? What are we hiding in and from? It is by facing the uncomfortable with perception, thought, and received help, that we can process and become more amazing selves not only for our own sake but the world as well. In these last two weeks of Lent, what is a little discomfort compared to that which we meditate upon? He did that. We can do this. Let’s go.
Grace be with you.