From: James Flaherty
A few thoughts for the beginning of Lent:
If you’re looking for a way into the season, or a sobering jolt, consider these words:
"Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds. Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." (James 4: 7-10)
"Do you not know," the writer of James asks, "that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?"
A full, frightening picture of enmity with God comes through Jeremiah 51: 1-26, and it's worth letting the flames graze your own face, so to speak, as you confess and reckon with your "two-mindedness": "I will stretch forth my hand against you [i.e., Babylon], roll you down over the cliffs, and make you a burned mountain. They will not take from you a cornerstone, or a foundation stone. Ruins forever shall you be, says the Lord."
But here's the encouragement for those who persevere:
"Put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looks life. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does." James 1:18-21.
I live in Jamaica Plain with my family.