God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.
Last evening I visited our XBSS team, teachers and students from the 13 sponsored schools that are gathered at Holy Family Retreat Center in West Hartford, CT.
During the visit, Brother Raymond Hoyt spoke to the students about how God’s reconciling presence and love surrounds us if we not just “look” but “see”, not just “hear” but “listen”, not just “feel” but “love.”
In 1816, the young Theodore Ryken, only a couple years older than our students on retreat, experienced God’s reconciling presence and fell in love with God and placed himself in God’s service. This experience of God’s unconditional love was a turning point in Ryken’s life, which moved him to read spiritual books and to volunteer as a catechetical teacher. This significant experience of attentive listening to his call and wholehearted loving of God placed his life on a new trajectory. This trajectory is filled with common, ordinary yet significant moments of challenging, reconciling and restorative seeing, listening and loving. Reflecting on Brother Ryken’s spiritual journey is a formative reminder on how life is an ongoing experience of falling, forgiving, restoring and reconnecting our hearts with God, self and others.
The entrance antiphon for this Fourth Sunday in Lent reminds us to “Rejoice” and “Be Joyful.” It’s Laetare Sunday! Holy Week is only two weeks away. As Lent moves toward its conclusion, this Sunday may provide us with an opportunity to not only remind ourselves of God’s unconditional and compassionate love made totally present to us in Christ but also to rejoice and reconnect with our loving God by trying to really see, listen and love God, ourselves and others through the people, things and events of everyday living.
Read the Second Reading for the Fourth Sunday in Lent slowly, reflectively –
2 Corinthians 5:17 – 21. (In this Reading, St. Paul provides us with a rich description of how God has reconciled the entire world through Christ and for us).
Which word, phrase or sentence do you resonate with or resist?
Spend a few moments reflecting on this word, phrase or sentence.
In what way does this reflection seem to move you toward a particular spiritual practice with regard to the everydayness of your seeing, listening or loving Christ, self and others.
Finally, you may wish to conclude this personal reflection with a spontaneous prayer.
God of Love and Compassion, we ask that you give us sight, so that we can see the world through your eyes. We ask for ears to hear your call to service and the hands to do your will. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.