Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Lenten Invitation


An Invitation

to Accompany Jesus

Is Not Just for Contemplative Nuns

In Catholic culture Lent, it seems to me, has become less concerned with penitential practices and caveats and more a state of mind and heart. I am thinking of the old days (here I really date myself) when conversation in the gang of girls on my block at this time of year was concerned with who would get their ashes first and what you were going to give up for Lent. Would it be T.V. or candy, or maybe reading movie magazines.? Or would you be getting to Mass each day and Stations each week?

For sure this is an ancient girlhood memory. I am filled with gratitude that over the years the deeper spiritual call, the personal call of Jesus, for my companionship along the way to the Cross was expanded upon, drawn out and drawn into my soul.

In the monastery, where Jesus is always the focus, the emphasis at this time is placed on greater exclusivity and depth of relationship via compassionate lingering with the suffering Jesus; the Jesus who suffered in Jerusalem; the Jesus who suffers today in HIV-AIDS ridden Africa, in wartorn Iraq, in shanty towns all over the world and among the illegals and the homeless in our own country.

The lingering I am thinking of here calls to mind the last hours I spent with my dying friend only a few months ago. I just sat at her bedside as she went in and out of sleep. I held her hand and stroked her arm and smiled when she opened her eyes. It was the expression of love through silent presence. Just be with; just hold the hand; just observe, remember and appreciate; just be grateful; just love.

Here is a call for all of us. Be present to Jesus in all of the Psachal Mystery - in His life, death and resurrection. And be present to and conscious of all the people around us and the world in which we live. Jesus is in them all and in the midst of it all. Linger with Him.

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