"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for."
These words are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They hit home. They help illumine the words from the gospel today,
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose himself."
There it is. The meaning behind the 40 days. We have let too much get in the way of discovering our true worth. We have settled for less. Material things have become that which we worship and adore.
It is time to clear the stage. Start fresh. Ponder a new.
We must deny ourself, that is the body always wants more than it needs and its needs are always self centered. We cannot seek our self in love. We must be stretched.
We should heed the warning of Moses in the first reading, "If you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land that you are crossing the journey to occupy."
We have been led astray. We have adored other gods. Our hearts have faltered.
Even when we are self determined we are being led astray. The truth is we must learn to follow. We are created to follow not to be self sufficient, not to go out on our own.
Now we must turn around. We must let ourselves be led back where truth, goodness, beauty await. It is arduous. The cross is heavy. But the goal is Christ himself. There we shall lose and save our life simultaneously. Each step back our life becomes more visible, more real, more alive.