It is love that I desire . . . and knowledge of God. 

If you watch the Tour de France bicycle race, you might notice that the cyclists are constantly adjusting their strategies depending on changes in the weather, road conditions, or their own physical condition.

We are now about halfway through Lent; maybe it’s a good time for us to assess our own progress as well.

On Ash Wednesday, you might have decided to give something up, to pray more, or to be more generous toward the poor. Maybe you used the same practices from last year or tried something new. And that’s all very good. But in addition to seeing if you are being faithful to these specific actions, try also to assess your Lent so far by referring to today’s first reading. There, the prophet Hosea highlights two important desires that God has for us whenever we pray, fast, or give alms.

First, “It is love that I desire” (Hosea 6:6). Consider the past few weeks. Are your Lenten observances helping you to love God better? The Lord knows how easy it can be to just go through the motions, even with well-intentioned plans. How are you doing in making love your aim? Holy Spirit, move in my heart so that I love being with you more each day.

Second, “I desire . . . knowledge of God” (Hosea 6:6). Are you coming to know the Lord better this Lent? Do you have a greater sense of who he is? Are you more confident in your own status as his beloved child? God longs to help you understand what is on his heart. He longs to teach you the ways of his kingdom as you spend time with him. Like any father, he is eager to share his thoughts with you. Holy Spirit, open my heart to know the Lord. Open my eyes to see him.

How does the rest of Lent look for you? Do you need to make any adjustments? Just like those cyclists in the Tour de France, it’s okay if you need to make a course correction. Just keep your goal in mind: to know and love the Lord better!

“Here I am, Father! Open my eyes and open my heart even more today.”

Hosea 6:1-6
Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21
Luke 18:9-14


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