I’m starting over with my faith. A rebooting, or a stem cell procedure of faith, so to speak. I go in search to encounter Him, to learn to breathe through Him, and as I catch His breath, perhaps to even learn to love like Him, and be filled with His beauty.
An encounter with Jesus is a call to conversion and repentance. When we encounter Jesus we are struck by a realization that something amazing has broken into our lives and we desire to know more what this is. And so that is how it came about that I found myself texting a friend last month, asking just how do I go about starting over with my faith? How do we respond to something when we don’t fully know yet what it is we are responding to?
Luckily I have a friend who’s quite used to me asking him oddball questions without warning so he didn’t even blink as he responded back. While he didn’t have anything specific to suggest, when he said he thought it was mostly about relationship with Jesus and everything else would flow from there, I liked that.
Armed with my friend’s simplicity and a serious need to start anew, I decided to likewise start with the simple and work my way up from there. With that guiding me I pulled down my YouCat (the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church) and started at page one. I wasn’t very far in when I came across a thought by Madeleine Delbrêl that checked me on the spot: When we hold our Gospel book in our hands, we should reflect that in it dwells the Word that wants to become flesh in us, desires to take hold of us, so that we might begin his life anew in a new place, at a new time, in a new human setting.
Lent is coming up shortly. As the ashes are crossed onto our foreheads we will hear the words, “Repent and believe in the Good News.” Lent is a time to take a look at what we have done, where we have been. It’s a time to look at what we need to do and ask where we are going. Lent is a time to begin His life anew.
Since the call for me has been to an encounter with our Lord I’m starting at the beginning, turning to the Gospels, along with the novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (W.S. Kuniczak translation), to set me where it all began. This is my Lenten journey. Your journey will be different as your needs are different but I will suggest three things; keep the journey simple, hold fast to what is good, true and beautiful, and trust that an encounter with Jesus means something amazing is happening in your life that will help you see beyond where you are to something greater.
This is the prayer someone handed to me after daily Mass around the time I texted my friend about starting over with my faith—beautiful and fitting:
Prayer for Healing: Lord, look upon me with eyes of mercy. May your healing Spirit rest upon me. It is through your Power that I was created. Since you created me from nothing, you can certainly recreate me. Fill me with the healing power of your spirit. May your life-giving Powers flow into every cell of my body and into the depths of my soul. Mend what is broken. Cast out anything that should not be within me. Rebuild my brokenness. Restore my strength for service in your kingdom. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others. Touch my heart with Your courage and infinite love for all. Touch my mind with your wisdom, that my mouth may always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in my need, and help me to lead others to You by my example. Most loving heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength.
Mary Mother of the Poor
Brgy. Butong Taal, Batangas, Philippines