Serving God Well


heart_loveLent approached us fast this year. It seems we have just celebrated Christmas and now the season of reflection, sacrifice and deep prayer is upon us.  When I was a child, Lent was not my favorite time of year. I never remembered to look past the crucifixion until Easter Sunday. After all, Advent was so joyful and exciting. I not only anticipated the gifts on Christmas Day but I truly looked forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus. My favorite Christmas ornament was (and still is) a delicate ornament of Mary holding the baby Jesus.

As I grew older and grew in my faith, I have come to see Lent in a different light. Lent is a time to unite ourselves more closely to Jesus. Our small offerings and sacrifices join in with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  It is also a time to look more closely at ourselves – like an examination of conscience. How often during the year do we really stop and evaluate our spiritual lives? This is often why the church strongly encourages us to go to confession more frequently during Lent.  It is not easy. In fact Jesus pointed out in Mt 7:13 that the way to eternal life is through the narrow gate: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”

As a mom, I encourage the kids to go to confession with me. There are many ways for us and our children to examine our conscience, but on Feb 3, 2013, our parish priest offered a new way – one I never thought of before.  His suggestion moved me, so I wanted to share it with you.

At Mass that day, the second reading was from 1Corinthians. During the homily, Father highlighted this paragraph from 1Cor 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

He pointed out how God is Love and therefore:

God is patient, God is kind.
He is not jealous, He is not pompous,
He is not inflated, He is not rude,
He does not seek His own interests,
He is not quick-tempered, He does not brood over injury,
He does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
He bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Now, we look at ourselves. Where am I strong? Where am I weak? Can I replace the word “Love” with “I”?

I am patient, I am kind.
I am not jealous, I am not pompous,
I am not inflated, I am not rude,
I don’t seek my own interests,
I am not quick-tempered, I do not brood over injury,
I do not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoice  with the truth.
I bear all things, believe all things,
hope all things, endure all things.

Not many people can replace “Love” with “I” for everything all the time. However, this is a great way to motivate us to be more like Christ. He is the perfect example. We can use this reflection before Reconciliation, before we go to bed or even as we go through our day. By reflecting on these things, we are asking God, through prayer and reflection, “Am I serving you well?” By doing so, we trust we are heading toward the “narrow gate”.

Copyright 2013 Jennifer Gladen


About Author

We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact

1 Comment

  1. What a beautiful reflection. Thank you so much for sharing your pastors wisdom with us. I will be putting this pearl of a post to good use starting right now! I’ve been looking for an examination of conscience that would push me to dig deeper…this is perfect. Blessings on your day!

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.