by Erik Ritland
“How beautiful it is to seek! There is so much to discover in the physical sciences, art, literature, music, philosophy, and more. The more we fill up our lives with these things, the happier we are.”
Fully Alive’s Lenten Scriptural Commentary helps Christians get more out of Lent by taking God’s word seriously.
Mostly avoiding personal stories and anecdotes, our commentary dives deeply into the scripture readings for each day and applies them to the broader context of Lent. We use the daily Mass readings from the Catholic lectionary.
If possible, read each passage slowly, taking in each word. If you find that you’ve hurried through a reading, read it over a few more times. Let the words reverberate in your heart. After you’ve let it sink in, read our Lenten Scriptural Commentary.
Thursday of the First Week of Lent
In the first reading, Queen Ester turns back to God and realizes the importance of relying on Him. Jesus reveals what we can expect from God when we do in the Gospel.
Readings: Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25/Mt 7:7-12
Click here to read the complete text from the USCCB website
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
"God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.
"And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness."
(cf Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25)
What a profound prayer. If we’re honest with ourselves, we can all relate to this on a deep level. Read it over again and consider how it relates to you personally.
During Lent, we remember with a sharper focus that we are not the people that we wish we were, that we want to be, that we are called to be.
This helps us remember how much we rely on God to help us become that. We are called to perpetual conversion – that is, to re-align ourselves with God every single day.
When we do this, we get closer to becoming the best version of ourselves. We become better people, treat people better, and are at peace. It's a peace that is beyond any that the world can give.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets."
(cf Mt 7: 7-12)
How beautiful it is to seek! There is so much to discover in the physical sciences, art, literature, music, philosophy, and more. The more we fill up our lives with these things, the happier we are.
There is a longing inside of us for closure, for peace, for ultimate answers. It is as real as our physical desires like hunger. Like hunger, it is meant to be satisfied.
In His typically enigmatic way, Jesus tells us that we will find what we’re looking for if we search sincerely. God opens doors for us, but we have to do the work of asking, seeking, knocking at His door.
Even longtime Christians – perhaps especially longtime Christians? – need to take this message to heart. What do we ask God for? What are we seeking for from God? Are we knocking at His door, and what doors does He open for us?
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. The founder of Fully Alive Christian Media, he also created The Minnesota Sport Ramble and is a writer and copy editor for Music in Minnesota. He was Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
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Erik Ritland received his MA in Theology in 2017. He's the founder and content manager of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota, and an acclaimed songwriter.