ASH Wednesday came and went with a good number of us visibly reminded that we have to reconcile with God.

God has never moved away. He has remained steadfast in His love for us.

I guess spoiled brats that we are want to do things our way and often times we flounder and distance ourselves from Him.

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As early as kindergarten, we were taught to make tiny sacrifices out of love for God during the Season of Lent. We would go into self-denial. We would refrain from eating chocolates, or drinking soda or watching movies all for Jesus.

Somehow our mentors meant well. But as our relationship with God deepened, we learned that God does not want sacrifice. He just wants love.

A mother’s love can be used as an example to prove my point. Several times in the past, we denied ourselves the last slice of cake, or the last cup of ice cream by saying “we don’t care for it.” Yet out of the corner of our eye we noticed how happy the child was who got an extra share.

Our whole being becomes extra warm, happiness fills our hearts because love has bloomed and has reached out.

Was our intention self-denial or sacrifice?

No! It was a gesture of love. Why? Because giving up that cake or ice cream did not hurt us. But giving it up meant making someone happy.

There certainly is a need for us to reassess ourselves. Time flies so fast.

A while back, it was Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day and then Ash Wednesday, which has ushered us into the Season of Lent. We have been hustling and bustling that unless we take stock of ourselves, we might just find ourselves face to face with our Maker whom we may have neglected for some time.

So how does one love in this Season of Lent? We start by telling ourselves that love does not begin or end with the Season of Lent.

Love is an ongoing giving of ourselves. It is good to deny ourselves certain pleasures—those that may make us forget our purpose in this stint on earth.

Mark 7:14-23 spoke of denying ourselves of “evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.” I suppose there are many more temptations that come from within us and which can defile us. Be this as it may, I wouldn’t worry myself too much about such big character faults. Why?

We have God’s own words to fall back on. “Suffer the little children to come to me.” God treasures whoever comes to Him with childlike confidence. This is the biggest assurance we have that all will be well if just let ourselves let go and trust in Him completely.

There are people who tell me that because of the sinful state that they are in, they cannot turn to God. My answer to them is always the same. A God who became one like us—who understands what we go through in life including the temptations which Satan offered Him and then dies on the cross to insure our salvation—is a compassionate God. All we have to do is take hold of His hand and listen to the powerful lyrics of Basil Valdez’s song, Lead Me Lord.

Let us not complicate our lives with so many do’s and don’ts especially this Season of Lenten 2010. We are all aware of the shortness of time with the passing of friends, like Cerge Remonde, Jinjing Osmeña and Minnie Dosdos. They were friends whom I thought would still be around in 2010.

Last Sunday, God gifted me with the “stopping by” of a friend whose presence I treasure. Very humbly, I acknowledged God’s love for me, grateful for His Fatherly love in knowing exactly what would make me very happy.

So let us approach this Season of Lent with a faith so strong that we will silence ourselves and reassess our hearts and then open our hearts to the moment of loving God and our neighbor.

In so doing, we will find out that we are God’s wonderful creatures after all! We just have to find some quiet time to reconcile with One who loves us so much.