Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 18, 2002
Lenten reflections, Scriptural roots
By GLEN ARGAN
God is present. Right now. Right here. Right in my heart. I don't stop anywhere near often enough to notice that fact. Nor do I stop often enough to meditate on one little line or another that Jesus gave us for the sake of our eternal salvation.
Scripture is essential. And this Lent we are taking a few moments every day to let one of Jesus' sayings soak in.
For a few moments, sit silently, breathing in God's presence. Then ask the Holy Spirit to come and be with you. Read the line from Scripture, once, twice, many times. What feelings does it touch in you? Is it calling you to do something different in your life? Or is it calling you to do the same thing, but to do it differently?
Talk silently with Jesus about how the line impacts you. Ask him to be with you in all your undertakings today. Give glory to Jesus, Son of the living God.
Wednesday, February 20
"This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah." (Luke 11)
There was certainly nothing wicked about St. Therese of Lisieux. She didn't ask for a sign, for apparitions, for anything that would make the spiritual blackness at the end of her life easier to bear. "To ecstasy, I prefer the monotony of sacrifice," she said. The Christian life is much less complex than we sometimes try to make it. The sign of Jonah - repent, fast, and wear sackcloth and ashes - is straightforward. We want so much; what we need is simple.
Thursday, February 21
"Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7)
We tend to trust our own abilities far too much and God's far too little. With every project there should be prayer. Not a perfunctory Hail Mary or "God, would you please . . .", but rather deep, ongoing persistent prayer. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament. Rosaries. And yes, even brief moments of petition in the middle of the day. If we want our endeavours to mean something, we should work hard . . . and pray hard too.
Friday, February 22
"Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16)
When I was young, I valued my freedom so highly. But now I find the gift of others' authority a blessing. It is a binding relationship that brings communion; the freedom of autonomy - of my setting my own path - is a hollow, empty freedom. If I want fullness of life, I have to give obeisance to God-given authority, especially the authority of Peter.
Saturday, February 23
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5)
As the editor of a Catholic newspaper, I find these to be comforting words. I know that I manage to cheese off at least a few people. But I know that in my job, most of the people that I upset are good Catholics who are bound by these words of Jesus to pray for me. And I need all the prayers I can get.
Sunday, February 25
"Get up and do not be afraid." (Matthew 17)
These are the words Jesus spoke to Peter, James and John after the Transfiguration. They had experienced something of the full presence of God and were physically and emotionally overcome. But Jesus says that, despite its overwhelming nature, the presence of God should not be feared. We should stand up, walk out into the world and be witnesses to what we have experienced.
Monday, February 26
"Give and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be pressed into your lap." (Luke 6)
This is Pope John Paul's message for Lent 2002. Give. You have been given everything, so give. "The world prizes human relationships based on self-interest and personal gain." Networking, we call it. But our lives must be marked "by the giving of ourselves unreservedly to God and neighbour."
Tuesday, February 27
"All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted." (Matthew 23)
This is where it is hard to be self-critical. It is easy to read this passage and scorn those whom we believe think too highly of themselves. But in just what ways do I think highly of myself? This is a hard question to answer and when someone tries to answer it for me, my immediate inclination is to be defensive.