As I’ve been thinking about what I absolutely need for Lent — what’s necessary for me to actually change my habits, change my life & myself, to grow closer to God, I’ve realized it’s this: a personal encounter with Jesus.

Why?

Because without that, it would be nearly impossible to believe and accept what Jesus has done for me.

Jesus suffered an excruciating death on a cross. If my brother or father suffered this death, and did it for me (for me), I would believe what they’ve said — about my worth, about who I am — and who they are, and their love; I would believe what they’ve done — for me, and why, and it would change my life from that moment forward.

But if a stranger did these things? If a stranger suffered that death for me… It would be very difficult to understand. It would feel nearly impossible to accept.

I’d ask, “Why?”

“Why did you do this for me?”

“Who are you to me?”

“Who am I to you?”

“What does this mean?”

I wouldn’t know where to begin, really, to process a stranger doing this for me. And that is often how I have felt about Jesus’ death; confused & unsure of what to do, where to go.

And so I realize the importance of an encounter with Him, then. So the question is: where do we begin? How do we find Him, how do we foster this relationship with Him?

And the answer is exciting to share with you, because Jesus is ready and Jesus is waiting for you to desire that. When you open your heart and your mind, and you intentionally seek Him, He will be there. He will move.

He’s in the Sacraments. He’s in the Word. That’s where I suggest we begin to look for Him; in prayer, in silence, in our everyday lives, in Mass, after Mass, in the Bible, through the Blessed is She daily devotionals, through our novenas, and in our talks for the Pray More Lenten Retreat.

God wants us to be closer to Him. We have to take the first step, and then keep on walking knowing and trusting that He is by our side.

Because He has already been by our side. He has already been there for us.

Nell, from Whole Parenting, wrote in her BIS devotional the other day:

“Sisters, if you’re drowning in lonely hormones, or the new semester is paralyzingly hard, or this new job is going to end in a ball of flames, and you are both asking for and scorning every sign that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, your font of Hope and Love, I’ve been there. Most of us have. He’s not going to force us to believe Him. But He will crawl up that hill to Calvary and sweat blood out of love for you and me. Whether we can hear it or not, we are supremely lovable. Stop asking for a sign and start looking at the signs He has given again and again.

I’m by your side, too, and praying for a holy Lent for us all — one that builds relationships with Him — that personal encounter that we all need. ♥