Forgive me, readers, for the absence over the last few weeks. Life in the monastery has been incredibly busy and I have been unable to set aside even the smallest amount of time for the blog.... However, I am regrouping and attempting to get back into a daily, if not semi-daily, posting of some reflection.
Today, I came upon a meditation written by Fr. Ronald Check, priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He wrote this last year and I found it particularly apropos for our time now. As you read this, pray for, Father, and offer a small sacrifice for his intentions.
Our first reading today begins with these words,"Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and observe your commandments! We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws." (Daniel 9:4b -5) And the reading continues with a great acknowledgement of sin. Most spiritual writers suggest that in order for us to begin our spiritual growth, that, in order for us to begin the journey along the path that leads to God, we must first begin by purifying ourselves of sin. Saint Francis DeSales says, "a soul that hopes for the honor of being made a spouse of the Son of God must 'put off the old man, and put on the new' by forsaking sin and removing and cutting away whatever obstructs union with God." (IDL, Part 1, section 5) He goes on to say that this really is the first step, of many, along the path of holiness and one that must be frequently returned to throughout the journey. He says,"The first purgation we must make is that of sin and the way to make it is by the holy sacrament of penance." (IDL, Part 1, section 6) This, my dear friends, touches on the whole reason for Our Lord's life, for His Passion and Death, and Resurrection. Many scriptural references could easily be given to remind that He came for the forgiveness of our sins and that He came to take away our sins. If our Lent is going to be a fruitful one than we need to acknowledge our sins, and humbly seek God's mercy and forgiveness. If we are going to take our spiritual lives seriously and not just "go through the motions," then we need to allow God's saving work of redemption to touch our very lives, and where better to allow God into our hearts then in the confessional. For it is there, that God's infinite love and mercy touches each person, and the goodness of our Heavenly Father becomes real and prepares us to enter more deeply into the mysteries of life that we celebrate at every Mass. So long as our sin rules our lives, there is little room for Christ. Pride is often the greatest obstacle to spiritual growth and peace. May our Lent be one of true contrition and may the Good God inspire in each one of us a great desire to be free from shackles of sin so as to live as free men and women in the kingdom of God. Amen.