Wednesday, February 13, 2013


As we begin our annual Lenten Journey on this Ash Wednesday, I was struck by a reprint of a meditation on Lenten resolutions written by Caryll Houselander, a famous British mystic and spiritual guide.  It is in the monthly Magnificat booklet.  You may find it helpful for your own Lenten Journey:

As to your Lent...I can only tell you my own experience.  A mass of good resolutions, I think, are apt to end up in disappointment and to make one depressed.  Also direct fault-uprooting:  it makes one concentrate too much on self, and that can be so depressing.  The only resolution I have ever found works is:  "Whenever I want to think of myself, I will think of God."  Now, this does not mean, "I will make a long meditation on God," but just some short sharp answer, so to speak, to my thought of self, in God.  For example:

     "I am lonely, misunderstood, etc."

     "The loneliness of Christ at his trial; the misunderstanding even of
            his closest friends."


     "I have made a fool of myself."

     "Christ mocked--he felt it; he put the mocking first in foretelling
his Passion--'The Son of Man shall be mocked, etc.'--made a fool of, before all whom he loved."


     "I can't go on, unhelped."

     "Christ couldn't.  He couldn't carry the cross without help; he was grateful for human sympathy--Mary Magdalene--his words on that occasion--other examples as they suggest themselves--just pictures that flash through the mind."  This practice becomes a habit, and it is the habit which has saved me from despair!...

Different people have different approaches to Christ.  He has become all things--infant, child, man--so that we all can approach him in the way easiest for us.  The best is to use that way to our heart's content, and not to trouble about any other.

Lent is a grace-filled time for all of us to seek God's love, mercy, and forgiveness.  Repentance and reconciliation begin with our turning to God, and in the words of Sister Wendy, " stand unprotected before God."

God's forgiveness flows over us, and helps us to begin to make up for our sins, failures, foolish mistakes, serious errors.  I long for his showing me the way this Lent.