March 21, 2023

Not as Man Sees Does God See

“Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7


As we enter into this 4th Week of Lent, we have ample opportunity to reflect on our experience of Lent so far and consider our preparation for Holy Week. No matter how we have done, Venerable Bruno Lanteri would famously remind us that it is never too late to “Begin Again!” Most of the spiritual life consists in beginning again, no matter what liturgical season we are in. But perhaps we’ve made one too many resolutions, fallen behind on a daily practice, or just need to switch gears with some different spiritual reading to bring us into Holy Week.

 The Lord isn’t quite as concerned with our plans as we are, as long as our first concern is always Him. Although it’s good to make resolutions and revive them as needed, we’ll never get a demerit mark from God for falling behind on Catechism in a Year, not finishing that book study, or finally realizing it’s more of a penance than a blessing to others if I give up caffeine for Lent. The first reading from the 4th Sunday of Lent recounts Samuel’s journey to Jerusalem to anoint the next king. It sounds easy enough; God tells him which family to visit. But God doesn’t tell Samuel which of Jesse’s seven sons will be the next king, and He doesn’t accept Samuel’s first assumption. Or second. Or third. Samuel has to meet all of Jesse’s sons that come to Jerusalem, and still request that the missing son, David, God’s chosen one, come in from the fields.

Samuel anointing David

 God is never distant, but sometimes His ways are mysterious, and we end up waiting on the Lord for the answer that only He himself must provide. Waiting is fruitful if we can endure it in trust; it’s insanity if we spend it in worry. But if we simply believe, we’ll see that God is who He says He is, and He’ll do what He says He’s going to do, and this is exactly the kind of waiting we should practice in these last weeks of Lent. Fulton Sheen reminds us that there is no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday, and as we begin again in these final weeks of Lent, we are preparing to receive the same message that the woman at the tomb received from the angels:

 “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:5)

Jesus has not only gone ahead of us into in Galilee, but in the mystery of His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, He has gone ahead of us to our Heavenly Father, and is waiting for us both now in the Eucharist, and ultimately in Heaven. So let us continue to set our Lenten eyes toward Calvary and the empty tomb, and trust that wherever we find ourselves, the Lord is always calling us in from the fields to Himself.