Ash Wednesday is now complete. Now, we get down to business. We begin in earnest the work of Lent. The readings today tell us to "choose life," (Deuternonomy) and Christ telling us to "take up your cross and follow me."
That's the Lenten game plan. Choose life, follow me. It is in this frame that we make our choices each day, Lent and otherwise. Because Jesus says we need to take up our cross in order to do this, we know this will not always be easy. But it can be freeing.
In this past year, I have learned a lot about obedience. Obedience is a word that comes from the Latin meaning "to hear"or "listen to." Both readings today urge listening to God. Our response is based on what we choose to hear. When we choose life, when we choose God, I have found that in a sense life gets a little easier. The difficulty is there, but there is a peace that follows the choice, an inner peace that grows with each choice. With each choice to enter deeper into the mystery, God pours more grace, more love, into your being. There is a peace that prevails, even through the difficult moments. This has been the great discovery of this final year of discernment. The freeing peace of God that begins to take over one's life when one listens and chooses life.