Fourth Lent

The Introduction 

What does it mean to come to the light? It starts with honesty, primarily about ourselves. We have to lay down our defences and rationalisations, “our side of the story,” and confess ourselves in good old-fashioned Catholic tradition, telling the truth about who we are. It involves admitting we’re afraid of our darkness, ashamed of some of our choices, knowing we can be petty and self-serving. We may be unwilling to love our enemies or to forgive those who injure us. Our compassion is undersized, and we shrink from self-sacrifice above all. We don’t like risking our comfort and security; most acts of goodness, we know, require that.

We prefer the darkness to the light. In darkness, we can pretend we’re better people. We can feel better about ourselves without having to change. But once we come into the light, things have to change. WE must change. The good news is, Jesus makes such change possible, even desirable. We become who we’ve longed to be. And God so loved the world, just for this.

What truths are hardest to admit about yourself? What kind of person do you long to be?

Build on the good that has come to you. Was someone merciful? Show mercy to others. Was someone generous? Give generously. Did someone listen? Be present to those in need.

The Scripture (John 3: 19-21 Jesus and Nicodemus)

Jesus said, “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is”.

The Story – A Mystical Love

Last year, I started taking an online class taught by Dominican sisters about the great Catholic spiritual teachers, including Dominic, Benedict, Francis, Ignatius of Loyola, Julian of Norwich, and Teresa of Avila – mystics all. Before this, I knew very little about Christian mysticism, which is intimate union with Christ, or the practice of contemplative prayer, which is meditating on love of God.

In a small group discussion, one of the sisters, Ardeth, talked about her love for Christ in a way that thrilled me. I don’t remember what she said, but I’ll never forget how she said it. She talked the way a woman who has spent her life in a passionate love affair with Jesus talks. This is a woman, I later learned, who had spent years in prison for her peace activism.

She made me want the fire of devotion she had. To desire him is always the beginning of love, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “What do you have to say about him?” the Pharisees asked the blind man from birth whom Jesus gave sight. My answer is that I seek to love him like they do.

The Reflection
Love begets love. Do we reap love by sowing it?

A little boy had gone to the mountains for the first time with his parents. Since this was a camping trip, the boy would wander around the campsite and walk along the winding trails. One day he was standing near an overlook that viewed the deep valley below. He thought he heard a familiar sound and yelled “Hello”. An echo (he had never heard an echo), came back: “Hello”. The boy heard this and asked “Who are you?” and the echo asked “Who are you?” And the boy cried, “I asked you first”. And the voice came back, “I asked you first”. Then the boy, in frustration, yelled, “I hate you”. The voice came back, “I hate you”.

The child ran back to the campsite and told his mother exactly what had happened. The mother talked with him about the echo and told him to go back and do what she instructed him to do. So he went back to the overlook and cried out, “Hello”. And immediately he heard from below, “Hello”. “I’m sorry,” said the lad. “I’m sorry,” came back the echo. Then the boy said, “I love you”. And he received back the reply, “I love you”.

The Commissioning

O love that will not let us go, you will go with us. O Love that will not let us go, bear with us when we ignore you. O Love that will not let go, forgive us when we turn our backs on crying needs. O Love that will not let go, do not leave us when we leave others to work out their own salvation. O Love that will not let go, we see the cross on the hill and we know that whatever comes, you will go with us! Amen.

GPBS © (2024)

View All