Second Sunday of Lent

LTC-2ndSunOriginal Original artwork by William Nelson

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

Matthew 17: 5-8

In the description of the Transfiguration that we read in today’s gospel, we hear, as we discussed in last week’s reflection, the Father’s blessing and ratification of Jesus’ life call and direction. For the disciples who are there, this is an encounter with the holy as it is manifested in the core spiritual identity of Jesus. It is an epiphany of what we called in our first reflection our “central wish,” our deepest aspiration which is our unique life call as given to us by God. The response of the disciples, however, reminds us that when we encounter that in ourselves which is our true spiritual identity in God and so Divine call and mission, we, as they, may well first experience that giftedness in “fear and trembling.” It may seem strange that the emergence into our consciousness and into the world of our own unique and God-given call and mission would evoke fear in us. Yet, much of our habitual way of acting in our everyday lives can actually be a way of avoiding the fear and anxiety that awareness of our deepest longings and unique life call evoke in us.

This leads us to look at our daily lives and ways of acting and ask ourselves the question: When are my actions and speech, my work and relationships in service to the expression in the world of my unique life call and when are they a means of avoiding it? As pointed out in the reflection for the First Sunday of Lent, this self-examination is always to be done in the light of God’s love and mercy, with the recognition that God’s longing for us exceeds our longing for God.

In today’s reading from Genesis, we hear that the 75 year old Abram “went as the Lord had directed him.” Faith is our willingness to do as we are directed, because, even though we may be uncertain and fearful, we trust in the goodness and love of God for us. Strangely enough, we tend to believe that what God uniquely asks of us will be beyond our capacities. But, the second letter to Timothy reminds us: “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began.”

At times you will discover
that God’s ways are not your ways,
and God’s thoughts are not your thoughts.
When this happens,
try to surrender yourself trustingly
into the arms of your Father,
who knows you,
understands you,
and loves you.

Fundamental Principles

 

Exercise

The purpose of developing some daily practices that constitute a “personal rule of life” is to facilitate the emergence of our unique presence to the persons, tasks, and situations of our daily lives. On Ash Wednesday we reflected on a moment or moments in which we realized that we were expressing our “central wish” or unique calling, the experience of ourselves as self-forgetful, inspired, and fully engaged. Last Sunday we reflected on such an experience as a participation in God’s creative and creating love for us and for those to whom we were present.

This week, may we spend some time reflecting on a moment or moments when, in retrospect, we realize that our work, speech, or action was not an expression of our uniqueness or of God’s direction, that is, when we were unable, for any reason, to be fully present to the situation from our deepest and most vulnerable identity. Take time to describe this experience without judgment or evaluation. What was it that kept me from giving myself to the situation or person from my own deepest longing and unique giftedness:  in the other person? in the situation? within myself?

 

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