Pay Attention to the Whisper

– Thursday after Ash Wednesday –

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days.”  [Deuteronomy 30:19-20]

God prefers to whisper.

We concluded our reflection yesterday with the encouraging words that God regards our ‘littleness with infinite value’. It is almost as if from the vastness and infinitude that is God, God leans forward to regard that which is small and seemingly insignificant, intrigued by its littleness and vulnerability.

Yet, you are more than a curiosity to God. He resides all around you and within, calling you into being and then beyond into the life he wills for you. He speaks to you quietly, in a way that those who are not paying attention will scarcely hear, for they must be free to ignore him if they so choose. God never invades our lives, forcing us to go his way in preference to our own. At every moment of every day, you and I must choose.

These are the words put before us in the ancient text from the book of Deuteronomy. It depicts the experience of a people who would so often choose to go their own way to embrace the superficial and expedient in preference to the One who is the source of all life.

Yesterday you were touched or sprinkled with ash. Recall that moment as if it were happening now. It is a fleeting gesture, scarcely tangible in reality, yet it is a whisper that communicates a truth that will guide you throughout these days. In that anointing with ash, God touches your heart and asks: ‘what do you choose?’

Keep returning to make that choice, no matter what the world and the events of life might throw at you today. For Lent “is a time of grace, a time for letting God gaze upon us with love and in this way change our lives…You may ask: ‘How can I trust? The world is falling to pieces, fear is growing, there is so much malice all around us…’ Don’t you believe that God can transform our dust into glory?” (Pope Francis, Homily, Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020)

by Shane Dwyer

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