How many times, even now with GPS in our car and on our phone, do we take a wrong turn or miss our exit? We find our way back to our intended route when we realize that we have gone astray and seek guidance to correct our error.
Our life and our faith journey are often the same. We turn away from God, and we miss following His perfect instructions and pathway for us.
Taken a wrong turn
Sin is when we take a wrong turn. We choose a path that does not lead us to God but rather to its own deadly or selfish end. Sin is something we must recognize in our life and acknowledge that we went the wrong way. We cannot seek forgiveness from our sins if we do not admit that we have disobeyed God.
How to turn back
If then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
In His mercy and infinite Love, God longs for us to turn back to Him. Like the watching father of the Prodigal Son, our Heavenly Father waits with open arms for us to return to Him. During this Lenten season, we are given a purposeful time in the Church year to repent and seek God’s path. This guidance is not GPS but rather metanoia which means a turning or change of mind.
“So, what Jesus says is, “Turn away from sin, and turn toward me. Change your focus-from sin, from the world, from a culture of distraction-and focus on me instead.” Ultimately, he issues a call to conversion, a call to a new way of thinking and a new way of living.” (Repent and Believe)
Staying the course
When we seek His guidance to turn away from sin and seek God again in our lives, He gives us some specific methods that will help us:
- Sacraments –We should be seeking with great love and conviction the reception of the Sacraments Jesus has blessed us with. The Eucharist is the spiritual nourishment that our souls need. Reconciliation is the triage unit where our souls are healed and restored from our sinful wrong turns.
- Prayer – Asking for directions and seeking guidance is essential to ensure we do not take a wrong turn again. Do we ask God what He wants us to do with our day, our words, and our actions each day? When we take time to pray and seek God’s will, we are better able to discern each day’s tasks. Spending time in prayer allows our hearts to stay on the path God intends for our happiness and ultimately our salvation.
- Fasting – Sin leads us to ourselves by seeking what we think will satisfy our needs and wants. Fasting is a gift of self to God by denying the wants and needs of our body. It is a chance to allow our faithful hearts to rule over us more than our physical needs. This allows our “spiritual muscles” to be strengthened and better fortify to resist when we are tempted to seek unhealthy and unholy desires. Fasting is an exercise of finding stronger navigation skills through our wants and needs.
- Almsgiving – The view of our path to Heaven is widened and easier to locate when we are looking for ways to help others. When our eyes are looking up to God and out to others, we can see the path to holiness clearer. We were given the first gift of love by God, and He mandates that we share that gift of love with others. Giving alms by sharing with those in need close to us, those lacking whom God places in our path, or those whom God gives us a way to serve from afar.
If you are looking for a way to further explore metanoia this Lent, I invite you to view the 10-part series entitled Metanoia: A Journey With Christ Into Conversion produced by Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR and 4PM Media. They filmed this inspiring series on location in the Holy Land. You can view the series for with free access on wildgoose.tv or check out the trailer for Metanoia. Watching just 2 episodes a week (at about 30 minutes an episode) will prepare us even more for the transformative time of Holy Week and Easter.
We can remain on the path of holiness through frequent reception of the sacraments, the sure guidance of prayer, the spiritual work of fasting and the widening of our view in almsgiving. May we use the time of Lent to turn back to Jesus and seek Him with our whole heart.
Repent and Believe quotes retrieved from https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column/54115/repent-and-believe-the-call-to-metanoia
Author: Laura Stephens, FF Sacrament Preparation Catechist