The empty page stood staring at me. What to write? I felt like I was waiting for inspiration to come. I was looking at this empty page, thinking about how, well, empty it was. Maybe I should write about empty!
When I think of empty, I think of the tomb on Easter. That is what we are all looking forward to: the empty tomb proving that Jesus rose from the dead. It’s too early to write about that, I thought. But there is another empty that Lent is all about. It’s the emptying ourselves of all the things that hold us back from a relationship with God. The whole 40 days is giving us an opportunity to dig deep into the recesses of our hearts, souls, minds, and emotions, to clean out what has been polluting us. It’s at the heart of fasting and almsgiving, and a big part of praying as well. We need to be empty in order to be filled with joy on Easter.
There are many paradoxes in the Catholic faith; like dying to oneself in order to have life in Jesus. Along that same concept is that we need to continually empty ourselves in order to be filled with God’s love and grace. If we want more of God, we need to give away what He gives us. If we hold on to what He gives us, He cannot give us any more. What great wisdom the Church has in providing us the opportunity to prepare for so great a feast with a time of preparation, prescribing ways to empty ourselves during this solemn season.
We only have a little more than a week until Easter, however, every effort we make now to prepare will be rewarded. Even if we haven’t been keeping our Lenten practices well, we don’t have to cram all 40 days worth of work into the last week. We just need to sincerely open ourselves up, to empty ourselves, and let the Spirit lead us closer to Jesus during His Passion. A good confession, praying the stations of the cross, and keeping Jesus’ Passion and Death in mind are all examples of how we can empty ourselves and walk with Jesus.
No matter if you’re just starting to empty yourself or feel you can’t be any emptier, this last week of effort will end with the joy and peace that Jesus brings at His resurrection. Let us walk together with Jesus on His final earthly journey.