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Kevin JacksonMarch 22, 2023
Photo from Unsplash.

A Reflection for Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
(Is 49:15)

Today we are in the middle of the middle week of Lent. What has this time meant for you so far?

Maybe the season has been filled with many graces for you, and you have experienced a deepening sense of God’s love and mercy. Or maybe Lent has passed by far too quickly, and the demands of life have made it impossible for you to notice anything other than the Sunday Gospel readings getting progressively longer. If you are like me, you are somewhere in the middle.

Wherever you find yourself spiritually at this point in Lent, it is worth reflecting on a wonderful image from today’s first reading from Isaiah. Speaking to the people of Israel who have undergone a long period of suffering and separation, the prophet writes an exchange between God and the people of Israel:

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you. (Is 49:15)

What a powerful image. While I am not a parent, I have been on the receiving end of this motherly love and know how unbreakable the bond is between mother and child. And yet, God goes even further, even deeper. This is an amazing gift to us.

If your Lent has felt underwhelming, disappointing or stalled, this image of God’s love assures us that nothing we do can make God love us any less.

I believe this image of unconditional love is a needed message, particularly at this moment of Lent.

First, if you are someone who has been steadfast in your Lenten practices throughout the season, this reading reminds us that Lenten practices always need to revolve around a central axis: God’s unconditional love and mercy. We should always be offering our prayer, fasting and almsgiving to God in a spirit of humility, not because God will love us more, but because we want to know God’s boundless love more fully.

Second, if your Lent has felt underwhelming, disappointing or stalled, this image of God’s love assures us that nothing we do can make God love us any less. God does not forget you. God always longs for your companionship. Like a loving mother, God welcomes us into a relationship with him each day. Do not be afraid to accept this love of God and move forward through the remainder of Lent on a journey with him.

“Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” Let us be thankful for the God who never forgets us and is always willing to work with our less-than-perfect efforts to journey with him through Lent and into Easter.

More: Scripture

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