“Dear Lord, my God, as Lent begins, I ask for the grace and courage to die to myself so that I may live in You. I breathe in deeply and exhale slowly to ready myself for this journey. I know it won’t be easy and will probably be painful, but I also know it is what I must do in order to grow and to approach You. Take my hand and walk with me. Show me what needs to be done.
“First, I must recognize that I, like all of us, am a fallen sinner. I am no different than any of Your children. We all share the same fallen nature. I have the same carnal desires, selfish motives, self-love, vanity, laziness and weakness that every child of Adam and Eve has. Lord, help me to be brave enough and honest enough to see myself as I truly am. Remove any mask or wall I have and let me look at myself as if I am standing in a mirror with You beside me. Grant me Your vision for that moment so I may see myself as You do. Look deep in my soul. What is beautiful? What is repulsive? What do we keep and what do we change?
“Now, as I see my true self, fill me with pure humility. Help me recognize that I am imperfect externally and internally without You. Physically, as my body succumbs to the forces of mortality and time, show me how to rely more on You and on those loved ones around me. Help me recognize that I cannot do things all on my own, especially as I age. Remove my pride that wants to say, “Look how strong I am.” Instead, raise the voice of humility to say, “Look how strong we are together.” Spiritually, show me how I hover weakly without You. Show me how I am unable to climb to any higher spiritual levels on my own. All my knowledge and effort amounts to just time spent until I can give it to You, let You assimilate and transform that effort into the spiritual progress You want for me.
“May I embrace my weaknesses, physical and spiritual, so that I will recognize that with You, I am complete; without You, I am weak and broken. Empty me of the pride that fills the space in my soul reserved for You and Your humility; the humility that You exhibit to reach down from heaven and enter into the heart of one of Your creations. Help me to allow and embrace Your assistance and the assistance of others in my endeavors, both physical and spiritual, thus taking Your love and opening a vertical channel from You to me and from me to You, as well as opening a horizontal channel of love from me to my neighbors and from my neighbors to me. Then the love flows up and down and side to side, like the cross You lovingly embraced for Your Father and for all of us.
“Dear Lord, my God, in humility I ask that You fill my weak, broken self with Your deep vast love. May it pour over me and through me, permeating the depths of my soul, healing and strengthening all that it touches. May I shine like the sun shimmering on the ocean after a dark storm, transformed and brilliant with Your light. May I be like the caterpillar who first inches along the ground and then transforms into a butterfly, now able fly up towards You. Oh Lord, let me die to myself like the caterpillar so that You can live within me like the butterfly. Together, let us live as one.”