St. Therese of Lisieux once said, “Let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit and Jesus will come to look for us [and] he will transform us in flames of love.” To understand her words, we understand the meaning of humility and repentance.
In my last blog I spoke about how I am offering my tiny Lenten fasting to God for the sake of others. Today I want to expand upon that thought further reflecting upon the kind of fasting God wants from us.
Isaiah 58 breaks down the kind of fasting that is pleasing to God:
This rather is the fasting I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yokes; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and no turning your back on your own.Isaiah 58:6-7
God forgive me, but I am not able to do the kind of fasting Jesus asks of me. I am too weak and fully admit to you all that I need Jesus to strengthen me this Lent to keep going in my fasts. I need Jesus the perfector of our faith to perfect my sacrifices.
So Jesus, this Lent it’s not me, it’s you.
I am asking Jesus to take my minimal sacrifices and transform them in ways only he can. I know that God has magnificent plans for my life, far beyond what I can think up for myself and I am trusting he has bigger plans for this Lent too.
I like to think of St. Therese of Lisieux who had large aspirations to be a great saint and indeed she is. She once said, “The weaker one is, without desires or virtues, the more suited one is for the working of this consuming and transforming love.” She goes on saying, “Let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit and Jesus will come to look for us [and] he will transform us in flames of love.”
Yes, I long for God to come in and transform my Lenten sacrifices into ones that will actually count for something, so to speak. I know that God desires mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). What he wants most this lent is the conversion of our hearts, not for us to give up chocolate. He wants true repentance of our sins and HE will help us do whatever it takes to help us return home to him. He will transform us in flames of love.
 (“Letter 197 to Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart, September 17, 1896”, Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, trans. John Clarke, OCD, vol. 2, 1890-1897. (Washington, De: ICS Publications, 1982), pp.998-1000.) 33 days to Merciful Love, Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC. 2016.
Lauren Heaton is a graduate of Colorado Mesa University with a BBA in marketing. She loves working with high schoolers and leads a high school youth group and bible study, in addition to singing at church. Lauren is a modest fashion enthusiast, pancake connoisseur, promoter of faith and fitness, and lover of all things family oriented.