Lent—A Journey of Trust

Photography by Tom Frankenfield


Once again, we find ourselves on our annual Lenten journey. This journey is truly a privilege given to us by the church through the Liturgical Year. Our Lenten prayer, fasting and alms giving is encouraged so as to strengthen and deepen our relationship with God.

During this particular portion of the Liturgical Year we are asked to let go and to let God more deeply enter and have a more active  presence in our lives. I know we have heard this teaching all of our Catholic lives but if we take a minute to reflect and think, this really takes a step in faith by each and everyone of us. Whether it’s giving up things in the discipline of fasting or doing things to improve our relationship with God and community, we have moved out on this Lenten journey truly trusting that our Loving God will bless us and help us along the way. After all, what kind of person would give up cigarettes or drinking or attend Mass more frequently if there wasn’t a purpose and that purpose is our God. So my brothers and sisters we continue on and trusting that our unconditionally loving God is walking along with us.

Story

Some years ago my family and I were on vacation in the Netherlands. We were driving in the part of the Netherlands that was recovered from the sea called “the Polder.” This particular evening as we were driving towards a resort area which we booked for the long weekend. We looked forward to a time of rest and relaxation with family.

As we drew closer, we discovered we were becoming engulfed by fog on a very thin, two lane, coastal road. As fog thickened, the visibility was less and less.  Soon, we could see a only few feet in front of the car.  It continued to grow darker and darker on this tiny roadway. It seemed like it was lit with just the power of a flashlight. As we all grew more tense,  we rolled down the windows to get a little cool air.  It got worse, all we could hear was the sound of water crashing against this tiny strip of road. We were on a journey of  trust. It was trust in the road signs; trusting the car and trusting that the stripes on the road it would keep us dry and in our lane.  Most importantly, we trusted that God would get us there safely.

Eventually we saw lights and soon the sign for the Resort Park was there for us to navigate towards.  I remember a cheer coming from my family that we finally arrived.

Trusting God in our Spiritual Lives

Lent is much like this journey we took that night in the Netherlands.  As my family and I did that evening, we need to trust that God will get us to a place where we can encounter rest and relaxation. We trust that the Church will provide the lane markers and the traffics signs. At the end of Lent we will be filled with the joy of a resort vacation in the arms of Christ. We need to let go and trust God will take the lead.

In the words of Saint Clare of Assisi, Co-foundress of the Order of Poor Clares,  ”Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for He who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me.”

Our Catholic Community shares in the courage to trust God and have no fear.  Lenten Spirituality means “no fear – trusting God – waiting for that joyful rest” at the end of the season.

As with the words of the Scriptures, “Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

For Your Reflection

From a Ministry Perspective:

As you embrace God this Lent, who do you minister to that challenges your trust in God? What specific actions can you take to develop a more trusting ministry environment?

What main area(s) of your personal life do you need to reconcile with Christ to make room in your heart for a more trusting relationship?

From a Domestic Church Perspective:

As you embrace God this Lent in your Domestic Church, as parent, sibling, widow or single person, who do you live with that challenges your trust in God? What specific actions can you take to develop a more trusting environment?

What main area(s) of your personal life do you need to reconcile with Christ to make room in your heart for a more trusting relationship?


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About the Author

Deacon Tom Frankenfield is a Permanent Deacon from the Archdiocese of Omaha who is currently serving the people of Mary Our Queen Parish in Omaha. He is a Spiritual Director, Retreat Master and noted speaker. For fun, he is a storyteller, potter, puppeteer, guitarist and poet. Deacon Tom is married and has three grown children and three amazing grandchildren.

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