(Part 2 of 3)
Eyes Toward the Lord
My daughter’s school sent this home on Monday. I thought it was an excellent (powerful and a little tough!) reflection for this half-way mark of Lent. It is taken and adapted from The Week With Christ by E. Lawrence, OSB.
This week we observe the half-way mark in Lent. Today should be a day of serious self-examination for us all. At our Baptism, Christ drove the devil from us and took possession of us. We, in turn, chose Him and His way of Life. Jesus asked us at our Baptism, “Do you renounce Satan … and all his works … and all his pomps?” Through our godparents, we answered, “Yes, I do renounce them …” and we renewed those baptismal vows with a free and personal oath of fidelity at our solemn First Communion.
Now we are no longer “catechumens,” that is, children or new-comers in the Faith. We have received the Light. We have been incorporated into Christ. He has lived in us and we in Him. But what is our spiritual condition now? Do we walk as children of the Light, as imitators of God, as His most dear children? Or are we all too familiar with those sins mentioned in the Epistle: uncleanness, covetousness, serving the idol of our own will? Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” Has this Lent made any changes at all in our lives? Monsignor Hellriegel says, “At the end of Lent, one is either more closely united with Christ or he is less a Christian.” On Easter, we will either be better than we were before Lent, or we will be worse. We cannot stay neutral. This thought alone should help us see the need to ask God to help us live these last few weeks of Lent in a manner pleasing to Him.
Incorporation into Christ means that Christ should direct our every thought and act. It means that our daily life (like His and Our Lady’s) should be worshipful, charitable, dedicated to the will of the Father in the perfect carrying out of the demands and duties of our present state of life … After all, our life must be sacrificial. We must be convinced that there can be no growth of Christ in us, no walking as children of Light, if we have not the spirit of sacrifice, penance, mortification. Some devils “can only be cast out by prayer and fasting,” Christ insists (Matt. 17:20). And the Lenten Preface of today’s Mass puts it this way, “By corporal fasting, Thou, O God, dost curb our vices, elevate our minds, and bestow virtue and reward.” This is the law of God. It admits no exceptions.
“He who is not with Me is against Me.” These words of Christ should be frightening. We have only one choice: Christ or Satan. We can have Christ living in us or be friends of the devil. These two are deadly enemies. We must choose which one to follow. There can be no compromise. Jesus told us, “He who does not gather with Me scatters.” As Jesus crosses our paths this week of Lent, we too, like Simon of Cyrene, must take a position regarding Jesus. Will we take up our cross and suffer with Jesus? Or will we cast it away as did Judas?