Our Lord has been leading me to contemplate my creature-ness for the past few weeks. And it has struck me just how little I am and how much I am afraid of being little. I don’t always like it. Yeah, my root sin/defect: pride. I can’t even really hide it either. But, as I was talking to Our Lord last week about something that was bothering me (and it bothered me that it bothered me), He let me see something that gave so much light and freedom: I will die. The world and humanity existed before me and will continue to exist after me. With that my petty concern went *poof*. In that moment I was able to “return to Him with my whole heart” being only concerned with loving Him and trying my best to be merciful and loving with those around me. Why? Because I am dust, dirt, of the earth; I mean this in the completely honest and good sense. Beloved dust; dirt that has been molded in His Image, animated by His breath of life, redeemed and given the overwhelming dignity to be called daughter, but dust nonetheless. He has called us His land (dirt) and buried the treasure that is Himself within this land (Mt 14:44).Who is this God who not only has no problem, but has even desired to give His Spirit, likeness, His love and trust to little creatures He has made from dirt? A God Who is powerful, a God Who is free, a God who is in and seen through His creation and yet not determined by it, a God Who breaks all schemes, Who wants to be known and is ever elusive, a God who is merciful, infinite love. He is just so stinking cool! He is worthy of all praise. And from this understanding, this perspective, it makes sin seem…silly. We might as well give it up. Sin is real and will happen but “the Lord has pity on those who fear Him; because He knows of what we are made, He knows that we are dust” (Ps 103). But when the bigger picture- the eternal picture- is in mind it makes it a bit easier for conversion to take hold of our lives.
Today we begin Lent, a time to repent and believe in the Gospel, return to Him with our whole hearts. I looked around the chapel this morning, full of beautiful consecrated women who have a black smudge on their forehead, reminder to ourselves and each other- we are dust so let’s spend our short time in this fallen world praising and loving Him and not worrying when things might get a little…dusty. This is a time of His mercy. A special time blessed by the Church to come back to the Father who is full of love and slow to anger, to remember we are dust and that while many things might be important only one is essential (Lk 10:41) and hopefully the fruit of our repentance will be that we are Misericordes sicut Pater.