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Lenten Devotional 3-12-2024

Good morning all! Today’s devotional is written by Rev. Brett Metzler who serves as Director of Vocations for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and Associate Chaplain for TCU Catholic. To know Father Brett is to know dry wit and a wonderful sense of humor which often endears students to him. He is passionate and gracious, and we are grateful for Father Brett’s love for God and the way he reflects God’s love to the TCU community. May today’s devotional grant you comfort and peace as you are reminded of God’s great love for you.

Matthew 18:3

 “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”


We understand the season of lent to be about repentance, change, and growth in holiness, but what exactly does this look like? What does it mean in our own lives? It seems that, according to our Lord, the answer has a lot to do with becoming like children. This kind of conversion is actually so important to Jesus that he says without it, heaven is unattainable. So what does this mean? What does it mean to become like a child?

G.K. Chesterton writes that children rejoice in monotony. They love to see things happen again and again. They have an overabundance of life that rejoices in the ordinary around them. He says that perhaps this same vital, excited energy flows through God’s divine life as he makes the sun rise and fall day after day, without fail. “It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon.”[1] C.S. Lewis also picks up on this theme of childlike joy. He says that on earth things are often upside down from the way they are in heaven. On earth, work, anxiety, and stress consume most of our time and attention, where joy is at best a sidelined occasional experience. This is not so in heaven. Anxiety is gone. Suffering has ended. Playful noise fills the streets as “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”[2] Finally, in the spirit of joyful repetition, Peter Kreeft, in an essay describing the ocean and its almost “divine-like” grandeur says that if each wave could talk on behalf of God, they would repeat with each crash on the beach the simple, but profound declaration of God to mankind “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”[3]

To be childlike then requires a couple of things. It requires a different lens through which we engage the ordinary and monotonous. It requires joyful hope, humor, a deep sense that the love of God pumping through our veins and reflected in the oceans weighs heavier than the passing sufferings of this life. Finally it requires a deep conviction that even the most failed and sinful life can be redeemed. All of this is only possible if the fundamental disposition of one’s life is dependence. Dependence on a good God and on his powerful providence.

Often times, we engage lent through a different lens. We engage lent through the lens of a need for self-perfection, a sense of needing to “get better”, to overcome vice and become perfect. To be clear, virtue and overcoming sin are necessary to repentance. But what drives this process? Is it my own need to be perfect and faultless? Or am I drawn to this by a deep conviction that God actually delights in me, and that my conversion is less of me working hard and more of me letting God? The goal of lent is not primarily about “getting better.” The goal of lent is to grow more deeply in love with Jesus Christ and to become ever more aware of his love for you.

As we enter into lent, let us do so with repentant hearts. Hearts desirous of conversion, not simply because of a hurt pride at having sinned, but because of a deep love for Jesus Christ against whom we have sinned. For when we recognize God’s goodness, His childlike joy, His intimate and particular concern for our lives, and most especially his desire to forgive and restore us, it is then that lent and repentance change tone. This lent is not merely about me “getting better.” It is about me drawing more deeply into the Lord who delights in me. For as proverbs tells us, “Before the mountains had been shaped … I was beside him, like a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited word, and delighting in the sons of men.”

 1 Orthodoxy.
2 C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego: Harvest, 1964), 92-93.
3 Peter Kreeft, The Sea.
[1] Orthodoxy.
[2] C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego: Harvest, 1964), 92-93.
[3] Peter Kreeft, The Sea.

Let us pray.

 Gracious and Loving God,
We thank you for your kindness shown to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. May we delight in, and be reminded of, the great love with which you love us. As we continue this Lenten journey, continue to draw our hearts nearer to you that we might also reflect your great love to the world. Amen.


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