Lent Daily Reflections 2013

Saturday of Lent Week 2

After weeks of rain and cold it’s hard to believe that the ground is preparing its annual display of miracles.

Then comes a mild day full of sunshine and colour and familiar scents returning to the palette of your senses that you thought had disappeared forever into the monochrome of winter. And you see that the miracle has already begun and doesn’t like its first stirrings to be looked at. Nature, if we see it in human terms, can be shy about its most beautiful parts. 

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Friday of Lent Week 2

In today’s gospel Jesus takes his close disciples aside and warns them of the fate soon awaiting him and them in Jerusalem. Immediately we are then told that the mother of two of them approached him with her sons, did homage and asked him to give them a good job in his new administration after he came to power. 

The disparity in understanding and spiritual intelligence is quite startling and it probably hasn’t improved much in the two milllennia since. We blank out what we don’t want to hear and we push our own agenda when we can.

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Thursday of Lent Week 2

Most of us by now have probably got a slight or even strong sense of failure with our Lenten practices. We didn’t keep something up. Or we could have done better. An occasional examen of conscience can be quite useful in dispelling the negative feedback that leads to a downwards spiral. It can also help to break the self-consciousness that underlies the division between the real and the illusory.

The real is that we are never perfect and no amount of trying or posturing will convince us we are or can be. 

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Wednesday of Lent Week 2

Let’s come back to habits. Lent is about them. Mark Twain said that nothing needs reforming like other people’s habits. (Take the plank out of your own eye before pointing out the splinter in another’s).

Lent is about reforming our own habits.

There are habits that through low-level consciousness have already become compulsions or even addictions. It is hard and humiliating to admit this - especially to ourselves. 

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Tuesday of Lent Week 2

A family gets into the car just after sunrise for a long trip. When they arrive at the end of the day the child gets out and looks up at the sky and says ‘ wow, the sun came with us!’ 

A significant stage in psychological development is what is called the discovery of ‘object permanence’. This is when we realise that things exist even when we are not present. Until then our egocentrism is so strong that we are naively convinced that everything exists only because it related to my own existence.

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Monday of Lent Week 2

 

Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’ (Lk 6:37).
 
The first stage of giving (one of our Lent practices)  is to suspend taking – or at least taking for granted. It often surprises me to be made aware of how much I take for granted; how much I benefit from the generosity of others without feeling the genuine gratitude that comes from being surprised and from a (non-self-rejecting) sense of one’s own unworthiness.

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Second Sunday of Lent

Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory. (Lk 9:31)

Today’s gospel is the account of the Transfiguration. Jesus takes his three most trusted disciples up the mountain and there is physically transfigured before them. The voice of the Father speaks from the cloud of the divine presence. To mundane consciousness this presence is always simultaneously revealed and hidden.

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Saturday of Lent Week 1

The major scientists of our time are not materialists. They are observing the universe in terms of its network of relationships, the spaces between things that are themselves energy fields of connection - and as yet unimagined sources of a new understanding of the human, the cosmic and the divine.

Like art, the greatest science is visionary and uses brave new models of reality to explore who and where we are. Everything we know of the world in this way is by metaphor.

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Friday of Lent Week 1

As we can see from the story of Martha and Mary in Luke’s gospel, stress is not a modern phenomenon. It is inherent in the human psyche that at times we feel we can’t cope. Life gets too much, we feel isolated and desperate.

Stress of course is relative. One person’s stress is another person’s fun. Perhaps because of the adrenalin rush or the natural need to surpass our limitations, a sportsman or a businesswoman enjoy putting themselves in stressful situations. Others seek an uneventful life and settle for comfort within their known capacities. 

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Thursday of Lent Week 1

Habits give us a strong sense of who we are. But we wrongly assume that our ‘life’ is natural and to be taken for granted. Of course it isn’t and we shouldn’t. Our life can be turned upside down and inside out in the blink of an eye. All our neural pathways implode and break up and we have to begin all over again. We ‘rebuild our life’ as habits are literally re-installed in our hurting brains and bodies.

In addition to these crises, which knock us sideways and sometimes from which we never recover, there is metanoia:  what Jesus means by ‘Repent and believe the good news.

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