Lent: Secret yet Seen

Lent is a season of liberation from wrong audiences. During Lent we remember who is our audience.   Oss Guiness said: "I live for the audience of one --before others I have nothing to gain, nothing to lose nothng to prove."

A young pianist, who was very aware of his great skills, was performing his “graduating”  concert at a large music theatre in town. After his last song, the whole crowd got up and applauded. With many flowers and prizes in hand, he went to his change room, but he looked downcast. His best friend asked him, “What is wrong with you? You did it! You got a standing ovation!" The pianist responded, “But the old man on the front row wasn’t clapping.” “Who cares?! He must be deaf,” said his friend. The pianist said, “That was my teacher.”  

Performing well in front of others is not always a sign of success, nor does it bring fulfillment. In Matthew 6:1-6; 16-18 we read that showing off or pretending to be better, more generous, or more spiritual than we really are for the sake of human admiration makes us hypocrites. Hypocrisy uses the poor and God himself just to gain honour. It can turn worship and mission into excuses to earn admiration. Yet, pursuing our own honour never satisfies, nor does it end well. Satan, or Lucifer (light-bringer) before the fall, had great glory and honour living with the Father. Yet that was not enough. He went after God’s own glory, which led to his end. Only God can hold glory well without corruption.  Let’s bring to Jesus our God-given need to be seen, acknowledged, and affirmed.

During Lent we examine our motives and aim to return to an undivided love for God. In prayer, fasting, and giving to the needy we aim to please God alone.  In our offerings and sacrifices for God and others, may it feel enough when they remain secret yet seen by our Lord.  In our fasting and chosen abstinences, may our bodies be living sacrifices that display a joyful disposition despite inner discomforts. 

May our performance be always oriented towards our teacher Jesus, who knows and loves us best. 

May God grant us to wallow in his mercy, rather than in guilt (a paraphrase of St. John Vianney). 

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