A recent Lenten homily spoke to my heart in a profound manner. Our rural Catholic community doesn’t boast of many grandiose things. We are a humble church and a humble people. But our pastor spoke boldly and confidently. He pierced the hearts of many with these words: “God is challenging us to step outside of what is comfortable and familiar. He is asking us to trust Him, so that we might be transformed as He was transfigured. We become new creations when we follow His lead.”
You see, we are on the cusp of a major move out of town. My family will soon be embarking on an entirely unfamiliar journey not unlike the one Our Lady and St. Joseph took to Bethlehem. Granted, it won’t be by foot or on donkey through the desert, but our journey is unknown and unwritten. It bespeaks of discomfort, challenge, and change.
As I was packing box after box of memorabilia and common household items alike, I paused for a moment to reflect on our pastor’s message. My eye caught a glimpse of a half-used box of cards, so I took one out to read it. It was one that defined our life’s journey as a family once our daughter, Sarah, was born 4 years ago. The card was crafted with love: the photo taken by a family friend to visually depict the phrase we had chosen to describe our life. That phrase was “out of the darkness and into the light,” and the image was of a sunrise over a local Indiana lake.
That card reminded me that our Lenten journey may be unknown and unfamiliar, but it is a call to greater things. We simply cannot become holy without venturing into territory that we’ve never seen or experienced. The landscape of our lives is vast, and only God knows how our stories will unfold over time. But if we remain holed up in our comfortable places and do not take that first step, that leap of faith, we will never know what lies beyond the here and now.
What is known to us today was not revealed five years ago. So it is with moving. Maybe you are not literally moving out of a house, neighborhood, and parish you have come to love, but you are moving—either forward or backward. We all are. Life does not stay stagnant. Even if we do nothing to improve our interior disposition, we are receding in faith. This Lent, we are called to move away from the darkness—what is known and comfortable—and into the light, which is what lies beyond.
Lent beckons us to move forward, to never stand in one place for too long but to continue moving steadily on the path God has revealed to us, one step at a time. He may not show us the big picture or the grand finale of our life, but He will allow us to see what’s next and how that step forward fits into the plan He has in mind for us.
Change is never easy. Human nature is such that we long for stability and security. But growth does not occur when we are comfortable. Growth happens when we are stretched beyond what we know, understand, or desire. That’s where true character building takes place—in that step out of the darkness and into the light.
Text Copyright 2017 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.