Would it not be so much joy if we knew and believed that we could all begin again, no matter what might have happened in our lives, or what we might have done? We literally get stuck when we entertain the erroneous belief that all hope is lost, and there is no chance to begin again. This feeling of being stuck is literally what it means: complete absence of hope and vision of new direction. But for those who realize that they are never separated from God, no matter their situation, God provides countless windows to new life, new beginning and new hope.

When the first generation of humans on earth sinned and their bad ways brought about the flood, God vowed to start all over; to recreate the world and every living creature. He desired to establish a new covenant that will never again be destroyed by flood. The rainbow in the sky was the sign of this assurance of a new beginning, a new hope. In doing this, God has set an example for us that we can begin again always; that we should never lose hope or get stuck in the past or in a situation that appears intractable.

Why do we need to have new beginnings? It is simply because we so often move away from God, captivated by many things, desires and pursuits that we lose our rootedness in God. As we move away from our roots in God, we begin to make bad choices, develop habits and attitudes that are not life-giving, and we lose our keen attentiveness to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Then we lose our joy, our peace and that sense of connectedness to the divine that brings us harmony, even in the midst of the many inharmonious circumstances. Drifting away from God is not fun, believe me! Those who have not experienced the peace of God think it is fun to follow after the crazy lures of the world. There should be no argument; only experience teaches the difference.

These forty days of Lent offer us the opportunity to begin again, to hope again, and to return to our roots in God, and take on those dispositions and attitudes that give life and drop those that lead to death. It is a precious time to engage ourselves in intense reflection and self-examination. We examine ourselves and ask important questions which, hopefully, will lead us to that which most matters in life: God and our relationship to Him. We pray more in order to reignite our connectedness to God; we give alms more in order to learn to not be possessed by our possessions, and to look out for the needs of our brothers and sisters; we fast in order to train ourselves not to be captives of the pleasures of this world. These three recommended spiritual practices of this Lenten Season are all aimed at redirecting our minds, hearts, and body to God in whom we live and move and have our being. May this season of grace be a fruitful one for you and your family. Amen