Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent Reflection

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The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in Him.

[Psalm 34:23]

We are fighting a losing battle when we pursue worldly aspirations for the purpose of our own salvation. There is, no doubt, a persistent psychological drive toward, self-actualization, self-completion or wholeness, which, at times, can be given over to earthly pursuits. That is, we find in money the solution to our financial despair; in power, our salvation from lowliness; in lust, a release from loneliness. But despite our earthly striving, the fact remains: we are alone, we are weak, and money does not buy a comfortable place in the afterlife—the psychological drive is never fulfilled in this life.

Facing the reality of our never-completeness, we are left with two options: death or life. We can allow the “terror” of this reality to crush us, to arrest us, to make us pursue nothing (or whatever fleeting pleasures we can manage to get). Or we can serve the Lord and live—truly live. One might argue, too, that this living in service to God is also a sort of death—a death of the Self—though a death, yet, never won. We must surrender continuously to this death of the Self, for it is the only place to find refuge from the feelings of guilt that arise out of attempts at self-actualization and worldly gain.

The non-dichotomized life that Ryken championed for Xaverians gives us a hope of spiritual refuge from mortal drives so that we may be transformed into servants that do the sanctifying work of God in the world. In this, the surrender to a contemplative life of active service is the rebirth of the Self, as the true self, no longer attached to the individual I, or, for that matter, taken up entirely by the collective we, but reborn into the tension of the deeply ordinary human existence that is gifted by God and properly oriented toward communal self-giving.

 

Recommended Exercise

Find that inner quiescence.

Allow the silence to enter your body, relax all your muscles, and relieve all tensions you may have. Breath slowly and deeply. Allow the oxygen filled air to nourish every cell of your body.

You are within the palm of God’s hand. Surrender into the silence your notions of heroism, of worldly success, of self-creation. You are created by God, to be who you truly are. Allow God to speak to you in this silence and calm. God wants you here now.

 

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.

 

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