Focus

Well, I’m stunned.  Usually I’m a bit lost during Lent and I didn’t really expect it to be any different this year, but we’re just three days in and I can see quite clearly what He would like me to focus on.  It started with me having trouble with #1 of the Examen:  Ask God for light. I want to look at my day with God’s eyes, not merely my own.  Looking at my day [and presumably myself] through God’s eyes is easy if I want to admit to the negative, to where I’ve failed, to where I blew it.  (in the “shortcomings” part of the Examen we could write a tome, couldn’t we).  But I don’t believe that God is looking at us so harshly – He wants us to know Him as someone who longs to fill our lives with love and encouragement.  He wants us to know where we got it right.  Yet it’s difficult to acknowledge even to ourselves, let alone in something “out there”, where we did get it right.  Now, look at what’s come forth in just the last couple of days:

1)  In the comments for my Ash Wednesday Examen, C writes:  “I wonder if He saw in my day more, less or the same amount of my failure”, and Owen says, “…being out-there during Lent can be a witness rather than allowing things to go dark.”

2) In the Ash Wednesday video/podcast from 24-7 Prayer, host Pete Greig states, “…what we find harder sometimes is to confess the light, confess the signs of God’s presence.” The episode is entitled “Light in the Darkness”, the blurb reads: “Where do you see God’s light in your life?” and it is based on John 1.

3) The book I was reading on the bus this morning quoted Ephesians 5:8-10 “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…”

4)  The priest who heard my confession today spoke of darkness and light, of spiritual battle, and the fact that it wasn’t exterior, but in the heart.

I don’t think He could make it much clearer.  Focus on the light.  We are children of light.  We are to confess it, because He is the light.  Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, in the light.  Walk through the forty days in the light.  We don’t have to wait until Easter.  He is Risen.

6 thoughts on “Focus

  1. This sensibility in an Examine is why I favour Fr. John Hardon’s Examine which focuses on the Virtues and is, no surprise, Ignatian at the core. Here’s an article by Fr. Hardon that includes ‘his’ Examine.

    For me, it’s really lovely to reconnect with you but especially at Lent.

  2. Amen. You’ve provided an enormous light about the Light between the Ignatian Lenten links and this post. I was moved a few days ago to do SOMEthing this Lent online that might have a bit of spiritual value somehow to someone somewhere (besides me), and what did I choose to excerpt from but a daily prayer book from an Irish abbey that begins with “Morning Invocation of the Light” and closes the day with “Evening Praise For the Light.” ! Since Ash Wed., I’m feeling more hopeful about Lenten changes within, for the first time in a long, long time. May God bless you, and everyone looking in.

  3. “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”

    I have been thinking a lot about this a lot lately. What does it mean to “magnify the Lord”? How does one magnify the eternal? Think about this in the context of asking God for light.

  4. Owen, I’m sorry if you tried to leave a link to that article; maybe my set-up here didn’t allow it. I googled [Fr. Hardon, examen, virtues] and one of the first things that came up was an article by Fr. Robert Araujo in Mirror of Justice. It does seem very helpful to bring the three theological virtues into one’s examen in that way. And thanks also for your kind words; it’s good for me too, to be reconnecting.

    C, I’ll be going over to look at your morning and evening prayers re light as soon as I’m finished here, unless I conk out, in which case it will be tomorrow. Under other circumstances I might say, how spooky, re the synchronicity, but the Holy Spirit [formerly Ghost!!!] isn’t spooky. 🙂

    JT, you’ve got me thinking with that comment, and pondering how to walk with Mary more in this process of the daily examen. From what I understand, the Catholic interpretation of magnifying in this sense is to praise, to extol, to lift up – so it isn’t a case of Mary’s soul being able to make God, the eternal, larger or greater, but given greater glory. But even if we were to think of a regular magnifying glass, it doesn’t change what’s being looked at; it’s an instrument that helps us to see the object more clearly. And that’s what we can hope for too, if we allow Mary to guide us to God; she reflects the Holy Trinity so perfectly and to such a degree that she is an instrument of God which can help us to see and know Him more clearly (if we look through her to God) than we can on our own. So all this is what I’ve been pondering, since reading your comment.

    • If her role is as great as it is in salvation history by virtue of her cooperation, then why would it be a stretch to think that “magnify” means more than just to proclaim the glory of the Lord? I think there might be more here. Consider the context in which she is said it. She just said yes to God, and is the God bearer. She is making something that would be unapproachable if not perhaps distant, in the old dispensation, real. Christ is approachable and accessible and hope thru faith very real. Please let me know if I am straying into heresy here? She may not be making God larger in relationship to himself, but actually making him larger to us. Also I think there is an element of what understand to be theosis here.
      Catechism
      “460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”:78 “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”80 “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”81”

      I’ve been pondering it since before Christmas. If I am reading it correctly we all could be living icons. Not sure if I picked that up and remembering it, or am just now figuring it out. I am pretty sure it is not original thought, but new to me. I am always grateful for your input thank you.

  5. JT, I don’t think you are “straying into heresy” at all. Everything is so interwoven and interrelated – but I was just focusing on one small part of your first comment, the part about “magnifying” the Lord, and looked up Catholic interpretations of that. But I think you’re right on, and are thinking along the lines of the Desert Fathers, Meister Eckhart and Catherine Doherty, just to name a few. If you have a few minutes, watch the video I posted at Consecrated to Mary back in Dec. 2008, Born in Our Hearts: http://consecratedtomary.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/born-in-our-hearts/

    And Catherine Doherty writes: “Christians are called to become icons of Christ, to reflect him. But we are called to even more than that. Ikon is the Greek word for “image of God.” We are called to incarnate him in our lives, to clothe our lives with him, so that men can see him in us, touch him in us, recognize him in us.” http://www.catherinedoherty.org/writings/1989/01/love/

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