This week, on Wednesday, Lent began. When Advent begins my heart lifts – the same doesn’t happen for me when we begin Lent! But here it is & we have found a few pieces of writing that we hope might stir your energies & ours to embark on the journey to Easter. If you joined us for our ‘on line’ Ash Wednesday reflection that may also have given you something to ponder.
The blessing this week is ‘The Peace of Christ be with you’ from ‘Heavenly Peace’. May it bring us all to peace of heart.
The peace of Christ be with you,
The love of Christ enfold you,
The joy of Christ inspire you;
The strength of Christ uphold you,
And the beauty of Christ be within you,
All the days of your life.
With our love
God is never a set of concepts to be understood and grasped, but a relationship to encounter and engage. In this way, the spiritual life is always a journey and in process. We do not let go once and for all, but move through the layers of clinging in our lives until we are living more from our hearts than our minds. We do not arrive, but are always traveling toward the horizon…
This Lent I will fast from the places in my life where I crave certainty and sure outcomes, and release them to the great Mystery. I will celebrate a God who is infinitely larger than my imagination…”
Christine Valters Paintner
‘Come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning. Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn. Turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness & compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, & ready to relent’. Joel. 2. 12 & 13.
The prophet Joel, convinced that they people have brought the disaster upon themselves by virtue of their unfaithfulness, summons the House of Israel to repent. But he does not call them to attend penance services in the synagogue. He does not require them to make animal sacrifices in the temple. He does not talk about public displays of remorse, the time-honored tearing of garments to demonstrate grief. No, he says instead, “Rend your hearts and not your clothing.” Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now. Lent is a summons to live anew.
Psalm 1: Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness, who stand beside virtue, who sit in the seat of truth; for their delight is in the Spirit of Love, and in Love’s heart they dwell day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, that yield fruit in due season, and their leaves flourish; and in all that they do, they give life. The unloving are not so; they are like dandelions which the wind blows away. Turning from the Heart of Love they will know suffering and pain. They will be isolated from wisdom; for Love knows the way of truth, the way of ignorance will perish.
If the gospel tells us anything about Jesus’ life it is that he can’t be accused of the “silence that gives consent.” His words and actions are clearly to bring attention to the upside down world where the Temple scribes and priests wielded the same abuse as the civic authorities. Whether it was turning over the tables in the temple, criticizing judgemental behaviour or tending to the needs of the lepers, Jesus gave expression to his life of integrity, truth-telling and love. Jesus, like us, believed in what was not yet, but believed in the possibilities what ought to be for the sake of the common good.
For reflection: What “doors” of my heart do I need to open this Lent?
Truly dust we are, and to dust we shall return;
and truly yours we are,
and to you we shall return.
Help this to be a time of turning round and beginning again.
Through the forty days of Lent, help us to follow you and find you:
in the discipline of praying
and in the drudgery of caring –
in whatever we deny ourselves,
and whatever we set ourselves to learn to do.
Help us to discover you in our loneliness and in community,
in our emptiness and our fulfilment,
in our sadness and our laughter.
Help us to find you when we ourselves are lost.
Help us to follow you on the journey to Jerusalem
to the waving palms of people’s hope,
to their rejection,
to the cross and empty tomb.
Help us to perceive new growth amid the ashes of the old.
Help us, carrying your cross, to be signs of your Kingdom.