Messages from Mr. Trolly
Reflection for Lent
This is an edited version of Mr. Trolly's reflection from our Ash Wednesday Liturgy of the Word.
Be reconciled to God – make things right, and get back together with God! That’s what Lent is about.
You see, we’re often very disconnected, from God, from each other, from our own hearts.
I have more ways of communicating with my friends and family than ever before. I have half a dozen chat apps and social media apps on this phone. Does this mean I have a loving relationship with friends and family? Well, not necessarily. Many of us have hundreds of so called “Facebook friends” but we’re not really connected closely in real life. In fact, sometimes the virtual world we live in so much distracts us from having a real relationship with anybody.
It can also distract us from ourselves. We’re afraid of our feelings, of our own hearts, and so we let ourselves get distracted, and we eventually become addicted, to whatever it is that can keep us from having to actually listen to our own hearts.
Especially the part of our heart that tells us that we need God, that we are missing something… we don’t even know what it is… but we’re missing something. It’s the love that God has for us, and wants to give us, if we’ll let him. If we get this first thing right, if we’re connected with the ultimate power of love in the universe, it helps set the stage for everything else to, little by little, become right as well.
How do we do this?
Lent gives us three traditional things that go together – prayer, fasting – going without or reducing our use of something – and giving to those who are in need, traditionally called giving “alms”. We spend less time arguing with strangers online, and more time talking with friends and family, less time scrolling Instagram at 3 AM, a bit more time sleeping. Maybe it’s learning how to pray for the first time.
Whatever we do, it has to be for real, not a show. Jesus called out “hypocrites.” What’s a hypocrite? It’s a word for people who were actors in Greek stage plays, and wore masks that hid their real faces. Jesus is telling these people, who are very good and religious, that it’s all an act. Jesus is warning us not just to act all nice and good when someone is watching. For example, “Don’t just wear a pink shirt on pink shirt day and talk about how bullying is bad, and then go and be a jerk to someone in your class, or at home… don’t just put on the pink shirt for the class picture or for a selfie. Be kind to others when nobody is watching.” It’s about integrity. Don’t just give food or clothes when you can win a contest or when your classmates can see you. Do it when nobody sees you, and it’s inconvenient.
When we pray, let's be really honest with God, even if that begins by asking God, “Are you really real?” or asking Jesus “Do you really love me? Can you really save me?” Maybe it’s being really honest and telling God that we’re really angry at him, or even hate him – God is big enough to take it, and he already knows anyway – but then give God a chance. Be quiet. Listen.
I believe you will hear God saying, "I love you. I love you so much!" I really believe that, because that’s what I know God has been telling me even at my worst, and even when I didn’t feel like I loved him very much at all.
That’s why I come to school every day, to tell you how much God loves us all, and to invite you to experience that love more and more for yourself!
Have a blessed Lent,