“Know that I am with you and will keep you, wherever you go” (Gen 28:15)
“Even if I sin?”
The conversation (related with permission) between Our Lord and a retreatant of several years ago plays in my ears through the days of Lent like the refrain of a song.
We have barely come through the Christmas season, have barely begun to realize that God, Emmanuel, is with us, by an irrevocable choice to become human. Our delight in the vulnerable baby of Bethlehem gives a “high” that lasts a long time. Lent, however, may bring us down a bit as we look inward and wonder if we will ever control our procrastination or anger or addictions.
It is not so hard to find God in the fire of a sunset or the expanse of the Grand Canyon or the fragility of a violet. But what about the “lowly” places of life—the experience of failure and powerlessness and sin? And will our efforts ever make a difference as we accompany others through those places?
At Christmas, we saw that God could become helpless. In the Lenten season, we realize that the same God is committed to be with us in our helplessness, as an ally, a support, a co-sufferer, “wherever [we] go,” even— in fact especially—when we sin.
Rosemary Jermann is a Spiritual Reflectors for IVC St. Louis. She is an adjunct faculty member at Saint Louis University and also serves as an editor and contributor to Review for Religious.