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Shortly after Lent began, I started watching a show called Metanoia, produced by The Ministry of the Wild Goose, 4PM Media and other ministry partners, https://wildgoose.tv/

Fr. Dave Pivonka, head of Fransciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, is the host and it was filmed in the Holy Land. The Pivonka family and mine grew up together in Durango. We all went to St. Columba Catholic Church and school. His dad was our family doctor.

I have been in touch with his mom, Margi, on and off over the years and more often now through Facebook.

Of course, she is the proud mother of a priest and that is how I discovered this production and the myriad other spiritual, inspirational content. (Two of his books are in the mail to me from Margi.)

“Metanoia” is a series of about 30-minute segments. It is free, with the option to donate available.

In one of the segments, a woman talked about a 30-day challenge that she took. For 30 days she was going to not ask God for anything when she prayed. Of course, Jesus told us to ask and we would receive. So I am not suggesting that we not petition God in prayer.

But I decided to take that challenge. It is Lent, and a time to shake things up in my spiritual life, to not do or do something that will cause me to stop, think, deny my earthly bodies now and then.

We are being given the opportunity right now to practice delayed gratification, aren’t we? We can’t have what we want when we want it.

Lent has been a time for me that, over the years, has led to more positive changes in my life than New Year’s resolutions.

We are told to pray always, to pray for our enemies, to ask and we shall receive. I have tried to put that into practice over time and it has become natural for me to throw out a petition to God usually in the form of, “God bless … this or that person, friend or foe.”

This is a great habit. I can just repeat “God bless my enemy” as often as I need to until, often, my angry attitude softens.

Sometimes I just say, “God bless everybody and everything,” when things seem too big to be specific. Like right now. “God bless the world” is about all I can ask for.

So with this 30-day challenge, to try to come up with something to say if I don’t ask for this or that is really a challenge.

I couldn’t come up with anything at first.

Eventually the word “gratitude” came to mind and instantly a plethora of things to be grateful for flooded me. They gave me a way to vocalize, without asking for anything, and to see in a new way.

Then the concept of surrender hit.

Oh how we, I, hate that word. It means waving the white flag of defeat, doesn’t it? It means giving up, admitting powerlessness.

It means letting go.

Fear has spread across Earth way faster than this virus. Yes, it is deadly. Yes, we need to take it seriously and do as we are told.

Yet, in the midst of that I am learning (and it is terribly hard) to just be with God. You know, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

After we take care of the personal responsibilities to stop the spread, in the end, the only thing left is to just surrender to the love of God.

To sit in His presence, quietly, not asking for anything. To speak and just be still. And if we must speak, let it be with gratitude.

Is your church closed? God’s doors are not.

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