Raising teenagers is quite an enlightening experience. I recently found myself infuriated with my oldest son because he was being a stubborn individual who sought consolation and not reconciliation: I want a good relationship with you, but only if I get what I want. My inner ire rose as I realized that he didn’t want to change. He wanted me to change.
The book of Jonah writes that Nineveh had the right attitude. “Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand.” (Jon 3:8) Jesus reiterates this point as he focuses on the heart of the problem: “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” (Lk 11:29) This is a generation that seeks consolation and not reconciliation.
My frustration with my son turned to understanding as God showed me that, just like my son, I demand the consolations first and foremost. I tell the Lord how I think it should be instead of beating my chest and crying out, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!”
One week into Lent, let us examine our hearts and ask ourselves, “Are we giving God the perfect sacrifice? Are we giving him our contrite spirits?” If not, let us join the Ninevites in their fast and allow God to turn our prideful hearts into hearts of humility. Let our lives be a gentle consolation to the Lord who so graciously gave His life for ours.