Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, reinvigorate, or reboot- trusting God

"Each morning, Lord, you fill us with your kindness" (Antiphon 1 of Morning Prayer Lenten Monday, Week IV of the Psalter). Indeed, each morning the Lord fills us with His kindness, reminds us of His great love for us. Especially today, the day after Laetare Sunday, as we resume our Lenten journey towards our celebration of the Lord's death and resurrection at the great Easter Vigil. Laetare Sunday gives us a brief respite, as all Sundays of Lent do to some degree, from the disciplines of Lent. Of course, the reason for our rejoicing yesterday is God's infinite mercy towards us, as exemplified by the parable of the prodigal son. So, if you're feeling a little discouraged about how Lent has gone for you this far, today is a reset, an opportunity to pray, to fast, to give alms, which cannot be done authentically unless it is a response to what God has done for you in Christ. I am still really struck by the words of St. Peter Chrysologus that before God, whom we call our Father, we rise "higher because of pardon than [we] fell low because of [sin]."

Perhaps you just need a little strength, some reinvigoration, to keep up the disciplines of Lent, which serve no purpose other than getting our egos out of the way, clearing some space for God to work in our lives. Maybe you just need to be reminded that it doesn't depend wholly on you, but on God. If you are white-knuckling it through Lent, today you are invited to relax your grip, to let go and, as a popular slogan puts it, let God. Yes, today is the ides of March, but as far as I can recall this was only ominous for Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. For us let it be auspicious. To be on the safe side, avoid gatherings of men in togas holding daggers. I think this always good advice.

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Scott. I am praying for you in a special way today, as you start your new job. I'm sorry for being a major pain in your gluteus maximus. I don't know why I start arguments with you on facebook, except I have noticed (in myself) that I only ever argue with people I respect. I think that my respect for you isn't always evident. I don't comment every time I agree with you or even every time you teach me something new. But these agreements and moments of learning form the context out of which I make any of my comments. Please know that you are a tremendous witness to me, and I am grateful to be honored by your friendship.

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  2. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am excited. As you know by now, I find argument invigorating and educational. I do know what works in my experience, which is limited to people in my parish, but over many years. It takes some effort to draw people out at times, but it is worth it. As with any teacher sometimes you have to ask questions, provocative ones. Like saying, "Well if nobody has any sort of reaction to what they read, was it even worth the effort of reading it and worth it to be here discussing it?"
    Sometimes it is simply telling what it is about what we are discussing that moves me.

    I certainly do not expect everyone to agree with me. That would be boring, very boring. Sometimes I am just plain wrong. You are not a pain and I know that you have a lot of experience as a catechist, which I honor and respect. I believe our experiences are very different. Of course, the one who teaches must communicate something of himself, which to me means that I have to teach in a way that consonant with who I am and not soembody else. This is true for others, too.

    I value your friendship and companionship very much. I am grateful for you.

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  3. One time in SoC, I threw my book backward over my shoulder and said, "So none of us thinks this is useful or possible? [the discussion was all about how it's too hard to love as Fr Giussani describes] Lets all go home!" THEN we had a fruitful discussion!

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  4. Exactly! I've been tempted. It is so hard to cut through the chaff, through all the abstractions. It is not a question of can we, but a question of how, which means we need a method. A method implies effort, which implies the possibility of failure, which means taking a risk. In this case nothing ventured, everything lost because the method accounts for failure and sees it as essential experience. So, in the end, you really don't risk anything.

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