Lent gives the gift of introspection and conversion
by Sister Donna Koch
Sister Joan Chittister refers to Lent as the “time to renew the best in us.” The Scriptures for this Fourth Week of Lent call us to do just that and remind us that to renew, growth will take some effort.
Whether we use the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son or the optional Gospel of the Man Born Blind, we can all look to the blind areas in our heart and mind and become aware of how the movement from darkness to light can bring about reconciliation and coming home again. In this awareness, we ask for the light of Christ to move us from resistance to understanding, from resentment to acceptance, and from blindness to seeing what we might have overlooked.
In reflecting on the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son I have an image of parents working side by side in the field. While pausing for a drink of water they see a figure in the distance walking toward them. The woman soon recognizes her youngest son and with choked breath says his name. Her husband can hardly believe what he hears and begins to walk toward the figure, slowly at first and then, as recognition dawns, begins to run with open arms. Tears trickle down his face as he embraces his son with unimaginable joy. This is the beginning of the journey back home.
Their journey is our journey. I like to think that God has that same kind of posture toward us -- open arms, receiving us with unimaginable delight. “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.” The past has been transformed into something new. God has fashioned the eyes of the heart so that looking inwardly in reflection and contemplation we are moved to respond in love. What an amazing grace for the journey home.
This day let us pray for the many persons who are lost and find only darkness within their minds; for those who have no home and need help for the journey; and for those who long for someone to believe in and love them.
- What is the “best” in me that needs renewing?
- Is there darkness in my heart that needs God’s transforming light?
- What is my posture toward God? What is my image of God’s posture toward me?
- What more do I need for the journey home?
Thank you, Donna, for this meaningful and thoughtful reflection. Most of all, thank you for including the mother of the son. As you wrote, she in fact, saw the son first and announced his arrival to the father. That is so possible and so much like a mother. No doubt she missed and prayed for her son every day. God heard her and brought the heart of her son to repentance and return. Many thanks for your inclusive note to this parable.