Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
God is stronger than evil
A few years ago, I was chatting with a good friend of mine about some past events and experiences in my life that were particularly painful. After a while, he very graciously said “have you ever prayed about this? Given it over to the Lord?” And I realized that I hadn't, and I also realized, to my dismay, that I didn't even want to pray about it. He saw this resistance and he urged all the more that we pray. I reluctantly agreed, and as soon as we began, many more painful memories came to light that I hadn't thought about for years. At the end of the prayer, I was trying to figure out why the Lord was doing this; it almost felt like a twist of the knife to bring up even more memories, and I wondered if the Lord was even on my side. In the days and weeks that followed, however, I found that the pain had lessened considerably, and I had a newfound trust and hope in God.
In the Responsorial Psalm for today's readings, the writer urges “if today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” I heard the Lord's voice that day, urging me to pray with my friend and bring all of it to the light. It was so easy to harden my heart to that call, but praise God for the persistence and faithfulness of holy friends who helped to break my stony heart. But it isn't until the Gospel reading from Luke that we hear of how the Evil One is a lot like a strong man guarding a house, and it isn't until a stronger man comes along that he can be vanquished and the house accessed. And once he house is accessed, the stronger man is able to take all the spoils. In a rather strange way, the Lord is stronger. The Lord is the one who will fight for access to our hearts. He fought for me that day, even if it meant bringing up a fair amount of pain. But that is the price of taking ground, that is how it feels to have a stony heart shattered by God who is stronger; and thanks be to God for that, because it allows for the same freedom felt by the Psalmist, who sings for joy as he bows in worship.
As we continue on through this Lenten season, may we hear the gentle call of the Lord in our conversations, our classes, our peers and professors, and let us invite him in and then brace ourselves, because our God is stronger than evil and we must be willing to allow Him to take ground. Let our stony hearts break, and be replaced with hearts that are ready to joyfully praise the Lord.
Catholic Studies Student