Living the Way of Love: Ash Wednesday – Lenten Reflection: Check Your Attitude
Check Your Attitude
Ash Wednesday, 2019
By: Jeanne Connolly, Director of Charism and Mission
Even now … return to me with your whole heart. Joel 2:12
Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them … Matthew 1:6
Today our Lenten journey formally begins. We have prepared our homes and our hearts. As we begin this journey, let’s pause a moment to check our attitude, our frame of mind. Simply defined an attitude is a way of feeling or acting toward a person, thing, or situation. Our attitude might be negative, neutral, or positive in nature. Attitudes often predict behavior. Attitudes are expressed in words and tone of voice, as well as through body language. When I worked in Human Resources, we would encourage leaders to “hire for attitude.” Although it may be easy to recognize attitude when we see it in others – “she has such a negative attitude” or “he’s giving me attitude,” frequently we miss the impact of our own attitude on others.
Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew reminds us of the importance of paying attention to our attitude, our approach to living the way of love. What is our attitude? Are we faithful even when the going gets tough? Do we believe in a loving and merciful God? Do we attempt to learn from our mistakes and change our behaviors? Do we see the image of God in ALL people, and treat ALL people with respect? Are we patient and kind, even when our patience is being tested? Do we trust the basic goodness of people or assume that we are being taken advantage of? Do we separate or place ourselves above others? Do we focus on rules or relationship?
As Franciscan hearted people we look to St. Francis as a model of gospel living. In Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith, Fr. Dan Horan, OFM, reminds us that “Francis was less concerned about what someone did in the world than about how someone did it.” It is easy to name or proclaim Gospel values, the challenge is how we live these values in our daily interactions.
Merciful God help me to remember that you have called me to be an “ambassador for Christ.” Remind me to pause regularly to check my attitude that I might go forward as an authentic representative of Your love and compassion in our world today.
As I embark on this Lenten journey my attitude is______?
Am I open to changing my attitude and focusing on the power of God’s love and my connected-ness with all of God’s creation?