Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream…
As someone who is always attuned to nature, this reading from the Book of Jeremiah has always had special meaning for me. I even used the image of a tree growing by a stream for a piece of artwork and added the words “In Harmony Small Things Grow”. The image was in reference to this reading but also to Psalm 1, which is almost a carbon copy of the wording of the Jeremiah reading. As we live through these closing weeks of winter perhaps we have noticed one or two barren trees that you pass by or see out your window every day. A tree must be strong-rooted and resilient to withstand the harsh conditions of winter. We have had a few harsh storms of late with almost hurricane force winds. How resilient these trees must be to withstand that kind of force.
We all can readily admit that we have encountered challenges in our life, some of them more difficult than others. And, we have all been in the position of reaching a roadblock where we feel utterly helpless as to how to sustain a semblance of hope in what appears to be a hopeless situation. It could be caring for an ailing parent, family member or one of our brothers, a sickness or painful condition of our own that doesn’t want to leave, trying to resolve a difficulty for someone with whom we live, or trying to perform a task for which we feel is beyond our comfort zone.
I have faced one or more of these situations in my lifetime and my first response has always been one of anxiety. I say to myself: “There’s no way I can do this.” Yet, if I think about it there have been so many times in which I stepped back and, in a more rational moment, have truly believed that God was with me at these times as he obviously is at every moment of every day. And, on more than one occasion, I was conscious of the fact God walked along side of me through both smooth and rough days – but, particularly the rough ones. During this season of Lent, let us be like “the tree planted by the waters that stretches its roots to the stream.” As we continue our process of “turning toward God” let us allow all that afflicts us be put aside, confident that our compassionate God strengthens us and accompanies us through all our days, both the rough and the smooth.
Take about 5 to 10 minutes to reflect on the following:
In the presence of God, I look honestly at my feelings over the past day, the highs, the lows, and the level ground. Can I see where God has been present?
Reflect on those events in your life, which, at the time, you considered hopeless situations. How did you respond to them then? How do you respond to them now?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind whatever is in my heart.
Majestic and merciful God, we constantly put ourselves before You. As we continue this Lenten journey with whole and contrite hearts, give us the Grace to turn toward You, to see that we are your servants in this world. And, may we who follow the Xaverian Way, commit ourselves to renewing our family and being Your compassionate presence in the world today. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.
WATCH TODAY’S VIDEO
How does the world look if we turn toward God? For Dominique Olondo, C.F.X., if we turn toward God, despite the suffering and the horror, we will see the Light: http://youtu.be/PoD_sDiSH24