A LENTEN REFLECTION SERIES
“WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?”
I am always struck of the bareness of the church when I enter on Ash Wednesday. Everything is covered, all signs of life, even the alleluias are not spoken for forty days! But yet there is a great silence, a quietness that invites my spirit to be still. It is as though all things have been put to sleep and is waiting in that silence. I look up and there is a plain cross and behind it is draped the color purple, the symbol of penance. I know this cross is inviting me to a deeper place, that place of sorrow, turning away from all the habits that hinder me. My addictions, fears, anxieties and my continued belief that I can do things on my own! This cross, this purple speaks to me just the opposite. It speaks with love, grace and mercy and invites me to receive these graces and unconditional love so I can be free. Free of the things that have hindered me this past year, months and days and sometimes my entire life! I am asked to turn away from them and to turn towards the cross and humble myself. Wow, what a concept to humble myself, it is so counterintuitive and countercultural. Lent though means spring and it is a time of renewal, letting go and the emergence of hope. I have not been promised that these forty days of Lent will be easy but I am promised new life and resurrection as I, by grace submit and let go to this amazing invitation that in time humbles me in a way that restores me and brings me deep peace. Are we not all sorry for things we have done, have failed to do? Do we not all have regrets and wished we had not done something? It is common unto all of humanity. Do we not all want to let go, turn from those hinderances and take a deep breath of freedom?
As I was walking to receive the ashes, I was also walking toward that plain cross. As the ashes were placed on my forehead and the sign of the cross was made I heard these words spoken; “From dust you have come, from dust you will return.” I knew I was in the Presence of the One who Created me, created me in the image and likeness of God…….I was humbled. For it is not I who is control, it is not I who can do it on my own (although often I think I can) but Christ in his mercy and love gives me the desire, softens my heart and moves me to change, repent if you will and to be transformed more deeply into that likeness and image deeply and authentically. It is here in these forty days that I experience death and in so doing I am renewed with the splendor of resurrection life!
“Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.”
Humility (humble) is from the Latin word(s) humilitas, humilis which mean “of the earth,” low, grounded.”
I say, You Oh Christ are humble.
May each of us receive the graces of Lent, pour out our hearts and become renewed with Resurrection life!