Lenten Reflection – 9 March – Saturday after Ash Wednesday “Come back to Me, with All your Heart” – Today’s Gospel : Luke 5:27-32 – The Calling of Matthew
“Leaving everything behind, the man got up and followed him” …Luke 5:28
Above the monastery some planes are cutting through the sky at tremendous speed. The noise of the engines frightens the birds, who take shelter in the cypresses of our cemetery. In front of the convent and crossing the land, is a tarred road along which lorries and carloads of tourists, for whom the sight of the monastery has no interest, run at all hours. One of the principal Spanish railways also runs through the fields of the monastery… People tell you that all this is freedom… But the man who reflects a little will see how deluded the world is in the midst of what he calls freedom…
Where, then, is true freedom? It is in the heart of one who loves nothing more than God. It is in the heart of one who is attached neither to spirit nor to matter but only to God. It is in that soul which is not subject to the “I” of egoism, which soars above its own thoughts, feelings, suffering and enjoyment. Freedom resides in the soul whose one reason for existence is God, whose life is God and nothing else but God.
The human spirit is small, impoverished, subject to a thousand changes of mood, ups and downs, depressions, disillusionments, etc and the body, to so much weakness. Freedom, then, is in God and the soul which truly, in soaring above everything, makes her abode in Him, can say that she enjoys freedom, to the extent that is possible for one still in the world to do so.”
Saint Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)
Spanish Trappist monk
(Spiritual writings, 15/12/1936 (trans. ‘To know how to wait’, Mairin Mitchell)
A Saturday of Lent
and more on “True Fasting.”
Each of the Saturdays of Lent are more upbeat and “lighter” in tone.
We are preparing for Sunday.
Our reading from Isaiah 58 continues,
as does our self-examination
regarding what true fasting is for us this Lent.
What patterns will I change?
God, heavenly Father,
look upon me and hear my prayer
during this holy Season of Lent.
Help me to discipline my body
and be renewed in spirit.
Without You, I can do nothing.
By Your Holy Spirit, help me to know what is right
and to be eager to do Your will.
Teach me to find new life through penance.
Keep me from sin and help me to live by Your commandments.
God of love, bring me back to You.
Father, our source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand,
guide and lead me in Your gentle mercy.
Let me be aware of
the many ways you reach out to help me today
and let me stand in awe of the power
that You use in such loving ways.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
“Christ is the artist, tenderly wiping away
all the grime of sin that disfigures the human face
and restoring God’s image to its full beauty.”
St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–C 395) Father of the Church