It’s my favorite and least favorite Lenten preparation: being honest about what I should give up and take up for the forty days of fasting we’ll embark upon on this Wednesday.
When I really enter into prayer with Jesus about what He thinks my Lenten practice should be, I feel a lot like the man in today’s Gospel. First, I run through a list of what I’m already doing for Him like an interview where even my weaknesses are actually strengths (*pats self on back*). Then, I throw out some ideas for what I could give up. “Oh, what about this, Lord?!” I say as I conjure up a sacrifice that wouldn’t require much sacrifice. His response is somewhere along the lines of, “thank u, next.”
Frustrated by my failed, fake offerings, I resort to, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He looks at me, and He loves me. He draws my heart closer, causing me to drop my facade, and whispers what I already know to be true. We zero in on that which keeps me from Him. The stuff and people and sins I’m attached to, the ones that threaten by closeness with the Lord like the young man in today's Gospel who "went away sad, for he had many possessions" (Mark 10:22).
Oh yes, I would do anything for love of Jesus . . . except that. Once I’ve identified the that, I know where I need to begin this Lent. What don’t I want to give up, what don’t I want to do, in order to be closer to Christ? That’s the sacrifice worth making. That’s what’s really going to transform my heart and make me more like Him.
What’s your that, friend? You’re willing to go to the ends of the earth for God, until you reach what point?
Take these last two days of Ordinary Time to put yourself in the shoes of the young man from today’s Gospel. Ask Jesus what’s keeping you from Him. Then, consider making spiritual and temporal changes to dig that out so that His generous, endless, and merciful love can take root more deeply in your heart.
Read or listen to this brief reflection by Doctor Scott Hahn on the rich young man.
Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where the sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and works from home as an editor and social media manager. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. You can find out more about her here.