Notice your breathing.

With each breath, become aware of the love with which God looks at you in this moment.

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Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise. You don’t want sacrifices. If I gave an entirely burned offering, you wouldn’t be pleased. A broken spirit is my sacrifice, God. You won’t despise a heart, God, that is broken and crushed.

Psalm 51:15-17

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When I’m feeling scared, I try to make myself invulnerable. I puff out my spirit with arrogance or cushion it in a hazmat suit so nothing can get in. I build a wall around myself with a sign that says “Keep out.”

But God wants something else. The psalmist says God wants a “broken spirit,” a heart that is vulnerable.

In the book, The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis writes: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

At the beginning of this Lenten season, let us come to God with vulnerable spirits, ready to journey with Christ in love.

Jane Hartwell

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Jesus, please give me the courage and strength to be vulnerable to you. Let me open my heart and learn to love. Amen.

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Whenever you find yourself journeying through a wilderness,

struggling with temptation, with weakness,

fearful of the shadows in your heart,

remember the words of Paul:

“I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”

Romans 8:38-39

Jane Hartwell

Jane Hartwell was the Youth Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, where she enjoyed creating retreats with teens. She lives in Portland, Maine.

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Mark Hayes

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