Scripture (MT 5:17-19)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
“I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
I read this line from Matthew’s Gospel what felt like a thousand times before it finally sank in. Just to be sure, I will allow Webster to define some words for us:
Transitive verb: to end the observe or effect of (something, such as a law): to completely do away with (something)
Transitive verb: to make full: to put into effect: to convert into reality
I wish I could say I had read this verse prior to beginning my Lenten journey, as I believe it accurately embodies my Lenten mantra: to be the best version of myself. While I admire the array of sacrificial offerings I see my family, friends, and co-workers making these 40 days, I finally admitted to myself that giving up something, or to be more relevant with today’s Gospel, abolishing something, was not helping me grow closer to God or deeper in my faith. All I could focus on was how I wanted whatever it was that I could not have and come Easter day I knew I would allow myself to binge on just that -- candy, Netflix, social media, you name it. What instead has helped me spiritually connect Lent with my everyday life has been adding something in or fulfilling if you will.
A friend of mine from what I term my “volunteer year” often would question what the best version of herself would look like. When making decisions she would ask herself, “What would the best version of me do in this moment?” Soon we will journey with Jesus through Holy Thursday and His agony in the garden, wrestling with God, searching and coming to understand what the best version of Himself had to do. It is this moment that continuously reminds me that Jesus ALWAYS fulfilled what His humanly purpose was on this earth.
Can you say that you are doing the same?
I for sure know I am not, but I have to start somewhere, right? Some small strides, like passing on a cupcake, going to a spin class, or putting a few extra bucks in my 401(k), will get me there someday.
- Check-in – how are you doing this Lent?
- Have you successfully abolished or fulfilled your intention(s)?
- What would the best version of yourself look like?
These Lenten reflections are written by friends of 12plus1, Inc. Discovery House a service-based gap year experience for participants ages 18-20 will begin August 2018. Please share this information with an individuals who may want to participate or support this new ministry.
Take 5-10 minutes to write, draw, or somehow illustrate the best version of yourself. Starting today, implement something, anything, that will help you become the best you.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
Kimberly VanBeek is one of the best humans you will ever meet. She serves as the Development Associate at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Milwaukee. She is a Wisconsin lover working to make her corner of the world a better place. A UW-Whitewater graduate and Change A Heart Francisican Volunteer Alum, she enjoys traveling, baking, playing ultimate frisbee, and bringing people together.