Dear people of God,,
I am writing these words during my final days at St. Andrew’s, as I prepare to move to Chicago to accept a new call as rector of a church there. I am busy sorting through books I meant to read, notes I meant to answer, projects I meant to complete—all the accumulated detritus of my messy life.
And already, I can feel the same temptation I face every year: to treat Lent as a sort of divine self-improvement plan. This year for Lent, I think, I will . . . Wake up at the same time every morning! Stop eating sugar! Make more time to pray!
Reading the early proofs of this book helped me to remember that self-improvement, admirable though it may be, is not the purpose of Lent. Instead, our ultimate goal is to draw closer to the heart of Christ.
The contributors to this devotional (perhaps with the exception of yours truly) understood this instinctively. Here, you will find maps of many different paths toward closeness to God: The authors are finding their way there through favorite books, communal worship, and turning faith into action, to name only a few.
At this writing, I am still thinking about the Lenten discipline to which God might be calling me. But I know for sure that I am planning to give up self-improvement. The only thing I truly need to cultivate is an open heart, so that I might be ready to accept the overflowing love of the God who redeemed us through his only Son.
The Rev. Catherine (Cat) Healy,
Former Assistant Rector