Getting ready for quiet reflection...

As I prepare for a few days away for quiet reflection during Lent, I keep thinking of these words by Joan Chittister in her book:  The Liturgical Year.  About this season she notes:

Lent calls each of us to renew our ongoing commitment to the implications of the Resurrection in our own lives, here and now.  And that demands both the healing... and the honing of the soul, both penance and faith, both a purging of what is superflous in our lives and the heightening, the intensifying of what is meaningful... Lent requires me to decide whether I, myself, do truly believe that Jesus is the Christ - and if I believe, whether I will live accordinly when I can no longer hear the song of the angels in my life and the star of Bethlehem has grown dim for me.

There is plenty of room for other faiths and traditions in this challenge - Chittister does not seek to squeeze everyone into one mold - and for this I am grateful. But make no mistake;  there is little wiggle room in her words for each individual Christian.  Do I truly believe Jesus is the Christ - and how will that change the way I live? She goes on to observe that "Lent enables us to face ourselves, to see the weak places, to touch the wounds in our own soul and to determine to try once more to live beyond our lowest aspirations."

This strikes me as the underbelly of graitide - a shadow truth - that gives depth to the joy and power of grace.  As one spiritual director used to say to me, "Never put whipped cream on bullshit."  Lent invites humble but grace-filled introspection.  It encourages deep trust, too as well as repentance and renewal.

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