“This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him.”
(The Transfiguration: Mark 9:2-10)

As I write we are about to enter the 2nd Sunday of Lent 2018.  I have been trying  hard to recall why, at the end of my Lenten journey 2017,  I made myself a promise,  this promise:  “Next year I will do better!”  I am wondering why I can recall the promise but not  the reasons for, or  behind,  it?  Selective re-membering?    What did come to my mind though was a reflection that I had received for Ash Wednesday which  included the following excerpt of the poem called “Ash Wednesday” by T. S. Eliot

“Because I know that time is always time
And place is only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only one place
I rejoice that things are as they are…
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain…
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Just reading it again, reflectively, set my soul free of the need to rummage through last years  broken Lenten promises  –  I am certain that there were more than I expected, hence, maybe, the promise!   I do try, but, clearly, sometimes I don’t try quite hard enough  or remain focused quite  long, enough.   But then again, maybe, just maybe,  the promises I made were the wrong ones?  More to boost my ego, “ I did it!” kind of promises rather than listening to God first so that I could get a better sense of what He willed for me.    Might that be a possibility?   The kind of Lenten promises that avoid placing ourselves in God’s hands. To quote Henry Wansbrough OSB,

‘The purpose of Lenten resolutions is not to ‘give up’ or even to ‘take up’, but to come closer to Christ and our heavenly Father.  Decide what are the sins and slacknesses  which  get in the way of our love of God’. Or, to put it another way, and again from the same set of meditations, ‘Don’t just stick with last years’s Lenten resolutions.  St Benedict suggests three things: more prayer, a regular reading of a spiritual book and breaking a bad habit which is keeping one from God.’ (Henry Wansbrough OSB: 40 Days & 40 Ways  – Daily Reflections for Lent  – Year A)

 So keeping our Lenten promises shouldn’t be judged, even by ourselves, on a sliding scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is ‘Go back to start’ and  10 is, using Olympic ‘speak’ , “You’ve won gold!”  No!  Lent as I understand it is a call to change one’s life. Re-turn to God.  Re-call to mind the times  we  forget the wisdom of the St. Benedict calling us to,  ‘Prefer nothing to the love of  Christ.’  We hear this in today’s Gospel when God speaks those wonderful words  to us, “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him.”(The Transfiguration: Mark 9:2-10)

As one of my previous Spiritual Director once said to me, “Just what is Jesus communicating to us?  He is saying,  we are in fact beloved Daughters and Sons of God too.  But be honest. Do we really believe it?  Do we really recognise that truth?  Do we really listen? It would certainly be life-transforming if we did.”

So I have decided to change the record – showing my age now – because I no longer want to, or indeed need to,  focus on my past failures (40 days might not be long enough!!)  Reaffirmed in my intention to spend more time with the Word this Lent I will spend my energies, listening!

“We have to plunge into the truth, into the experience of pure light that burns away all shadows.  Then we will find ourselves in the absolute intimacy that not only changes but transfigures us.  (Laurence Freeman OSB Lenten Reflections 2nd Sunday Lent)

Eileen Dutt

International Oblate Coordinator

World Community for Christian Meditation

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