Lent is a time of repentence. As we heard in the First Reading on Ash Wednesday, Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.
Repentence is necessary because sin has devastating results. Looking at our world we can see the effects of sin in the violence, hatred, and lack of respect for human life all around us. The answer to all this is to repent, and turn back to the Lord, the source of all goodness.
And while we may not be able to convince the whole world to repent, we can do our part. That’s what Monsignor Don Sawyer discussed recently when he stopped by The Inner Life®. He chatted with host Chuck Neff about the need for repentence in our world, and why it need to start with us.
“It does start with us,” he said. “I think about Lent, and God is always calling, He’s calling the world, everybody to repent, to turn back. We don’t have to take that all on our shoulders, but we begin, like Jesus says, that it is better to remove the plank in your own eyes instead of being worried about others with their splinters.”
We look around and wish the world was different, but the temptation is often to feel so powerless to change anything that we give up and just maintain the status quo. But if we want God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, then we need to begin with our very own corner of the world, and with our very own hearts.
“We begin to change the world beginning with ourselves,” said Msgr. Sawyer. “That’s where change begins. And I guess I want to say that God is calling the world to change, but the world doesn’t listen. That’s why we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ That’s what we need to be praying for. We change, we improve ourselves, that we don’t hurt other people, that we become closer to God, doing His will.”
Though you may be tempted to discouragement and feel that your own small acts of repentance are wasted, Msgr. Sawyer pointed to the example of honeybees to illustrate how God can use the small acts of repentance and love to build something beautiful.
“I think about honeybees, and all the honeycombs you’ll see if you open up a hive,” he said. “But that begins with one little bee taking a minuscule piece of nectar from each flower. And all that adds up. And it’s the same thing with us. We could help make at least our world around us more peaceful. We can make it happier, we can affect people’s lives.”
“We have so much power in our hands. I think we forget that we could change people’s lives individually. You know, not a world full of people, but this person here, that one over there. We don’t realize the power we have.”
Listen to the full conversation below: