Midway through this Lenten season, can you hear God calling you? In praying with today’s first reading, and bringing to it the specific challenges of our lives today, the message in Hosea might sound something like this:

Come back to me.
When you are hurting–
damaged in a relationship,
leveled by a diagnosis,
anxious in your work,
worried about your children,
diminished in your body–
I will heal you.

When you are broken–
in the throes of addiction,
grieving the loss of a person you love,
deeply in debt,
confused about sex,
struggling with a decision,
bent double by failure–
I will bind your wounds.

When hard times
and the persons
and systems you counted on–
have left you for dead,
I will raise you up.
I want you to live in my presence.
Sure as the dawn,
I am coming to meet you.

My love for you shines
as bright as the sun.

My care for you pours down
the way the spring rain waters the earth.

You don’t have to do anything.
You don’t have to be “good enough.”
I don’t require your sacrifices,
your accomplishments,
your success.
Your love is all I desire.

More than anything,
I want you to know me.

—Mary Anne Reese is an attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Xavier University’s theology program and belongs to St. Robert Bellarmine Parish. She is also a published poet.