On this Thursday After Ash Wednesday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
Today Scott Hahn focuses on discipline in our relationship with our heavenly Father. He opens with a scriptural reflection on the corrective nature of this Divine Discipline and describes it as a facet of God’s love for us.
But the book doesn’t tarry long on the corrective nature of discipline and shifts quickly to discipline as an internal disposition. God wants more than obedience to His laws or acquiescence to His will. He wants a covenant relationship. Scott Hahn challenges us to question how we can best respond to God’s call to relationship.
True connection with the Father requires us to respond with full “self-donation”, something that I personally find very difficult. I always want to withhold a part of me. “I’ll give you most of me, Lord. Just don’t make me give up … chocolate … or Sunday mornings … or the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.” But God asks for complete surrender in response to His love. Scott compares this surrender to martyrdom, an apt comparison in my experience as I find this complete surrender to be a very difficult task. And while I can’t quite get it right, step-by-step, day-by-day, I can improve. Particularly, I can adopt a Church-prescribed process of improvement: denial of self, often in the form of fasting. With this in mind, the book asks:
Great question. the homilist at last nights Ash Wednesday Mass, however, took it a step further. He described a man who, for his Lenten vow, attended Mass more frequently during Lent. Father said this man acknowledged how much he benefited from this additional weekly Mass, and Father asked why, if it was so beneficial, did the practice stop at Easter?
So in addition to Scott Hahn’s question, “what additional sacrifice can I make today to affirm my desire to be disciplined this Lent”, I add my own question: “am I prepared to continue this sacrifice after Lent knowing that I will only draw closer to God through it?”