The Season of Lent (spring, renewal) will begin once again this Wednesday with Ash Wednesday. It is a time we are invited to go deeper into our spiritual lives and to follow Jesus in his humanity and his divinity; "Fully Human, Fully Divine." In his humanity with all of his struggles and temptations and in his divinity, God Incarnate. This season is to be experienced. It is past human reasoning but a mystery of faith. Invited, called to descend in order to ascend and in between, letting go, dying to the things that grip us so tightly and sometimes or perhaps always suffering in some way deeply. None of us want to die or let go, none of us give up easily to change and none of us want to suffer but we all do. Our hearts long for change, healing and restoration but our fears and even our some times comfortable lifestyles resist it but yet we are asked, "Come follow me."
This invitation is not for the sake of suffering for sufferings sake or dying for dyings sake but for true change to occur, a new and renewed life to emerge, a resurrected life. One that is filled with life, compassion and mercy. One that pours out to others and reflects the goodness and love of Christ. We, by grace are asked to share in this.
How do we do this? For me this year I am being invited to gaze upon the crucified Christ. I remember doing this as a daily practice when I was a monk and in that gaze came a softening of my heart. I would sometimes simply gaze but other times have a phrase or mantra I would repeat. One example of this would be "You, oh Christ are full of mercy." Well, guess what? Christ already knows this but by this acknowledgment I not only placed myself under that cross full of mercy but my heart began to soften, to change. As this occurred I would be aware throughout the day and faith and grace were asked to be put into action! Where, when and to whom was I being asked to show mercy to? It often came at the most inconvenient times, when I didn't want to, when I was in a situation where I might have been "right" or felt transgressed. Really? Now you want me to show mercy?
As my heart was softened so conversion took place deep within and when moments happened throughout the day to extend mercy so the transformation of my life emerged.
Where are you being invited this season of Lent? Where are you being asked to let go, to die so you might authentically live?
The words come to me, perhaps to you, "Be not afraid, I am with you."
It is by grace we are brought from death into life.