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Read daily meditations during the season of Lent. Reflect on Gospel challenges that will help you prepare to celebrate Holy Week and Easter.

Catholic Update

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Letting God In:
Daily Meditations
for Lent

By Richard Rohr, O.F.M.

When are we most willing to let God into our lives? Often it is when we are most broken, when we finally admit our inadequacy to “stand on our own.” God can take that kind of dependency and run with it! Lent is an ideal time to remember that we, in the deepest way, must learn to depend on God. In this Update we invite you to spend some time each day in Lent listening to Gospel challenges that will help awaken heart and mind. Then we will truly be prepared to celebrate Holy Week and Easter.

Ash Wednesday: Waking Up

Our poverty has the key; it offers us the breakthrough moment for us to wake up. It’s the hole in the soul, that place where we are radically broken and powerless—and therefore open.

Thursday: Taking Responsibility

Until one takes responsibility and stops blaming his or her mother or father, and says, “This is my life…my life is powerless,” nothing new is going to happen.

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Friday: Being Alive

What we lack in an addictive society and an addictive family is a sense of being truly alive. So we look for pseudo-ways to feel alive. But when we find the spirit of Jesus inside of us, more than we asked for, expected or earned, then we understand grace.

Saturday: Solitude

The most simple spiritual discipline is some degree of solitude and silence. We’ve got to slow down the chatter, the stimulation. We won’t have the courage to go into that terrifying place of the soul without the light and love of the Lord.

First Sunday of Lent: Grace

God’s love is total, unconditional, absolute and forever. The state of grace—God’s attitude towards us—is eternal. We are the ones who change. Sometimes we are able to to believe that God loves us unconditionally, absolutely and forever. That’s grace! We have to allow God to continually fill us.

Monday: Moses’s Promised Land

Moses’s story contains one of the ironies of history: Moses did not get to the land of Israel. He saw it from the distance, as he looked across the River Jordan. No doubt, though, Moses was already experiencing his Promised Land in the journey.

Tuesday: The Commandment

In our world God says: Do not put your trust in gods that that cannot save—your looks, intelligence, money. Do not put your trust in your children, wife, husband, your home. They cannot save you. God is security, the rock of our salvation.

Wednesday: Sin

The original notion of sin is not to impute guilt; it’s to name reality. What is going on in our lives, in our society that is so blinding, so addictive? What is trapping us from loving God and neighbor and being truly alive? Those are our questions for Lent.

Thursday: Romans 7

Read Romans 7 sometime, live with the agony of Paul and see that he’s just like every one of us. Why do I do what I don’t want to do? Paul says, “Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?” Yet he follows with, “This I know, in Christ there is no condemnation.”

Friday: Confession

Confession is not just for the confessional. There’s non-sacramental confession. Sometimes, maybe even more often, we need to confess to a wife, husband, child, friend—someone who has the power to recognize and receive the sinner. The sense of personhood that comes from truthfulness is immense.

Saturday: A Radical Call

We must somehow be a Church growing in resistance. Faith and resistance must be reconnected in our hearts and in our corporate decisions. Otherwise we are always drawn into passing fads and cultural biases.

Second Sunday of Lent:—The Transcendence of God

Worship means lifting our hands to a God who seems totally beyond us. Modern humanity has lost the call to worship because it’s a blow to our pride and sophistication to worship God who is total otherness. Is adoration pushing God away from us? NO! It’s allowing God to make the voluntary move toward us.

Monday: Spirituality of Subtraction

The medieval mystic Meister Eckhardt said the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than with addition. Yet Christians today are involved in a spirituality of addition. Consumer culture wants us to have more. God wants us to let go.

Tuesday: Discernment

Ego is not the love of God; it’s the love of self. Basically it is the need to control reality and think well of oneself. Yet we put all of our efforts into controlling the shadow or dark side of our personality. Jesus is clearly saying the shadow is not the problem; but power and pride are.

Wednesday: Back to Basics

Life in parts of the world is basic: the beautiful mornings, the fresh, clean breeze, so many birds, the temperature constant with the body’s. Not only did humankind likely begin here, but somehow it is still beginning here. We need to embrace the basics.

Thursday: Freedom From Self

In Christ you don’t need the false self. You have faced the enemy once and for all and, guess what? It’s you!

Friday: Do We Love Christ?

When was the last time you heard that someone was thrown out of the Church for not rejoicing and exalting when they were criticized? Jesus taught that we should. Do we conveniently ignore much of the New Testament?

Saturday: From Merton’s Hermitage

Have you ever spent 24 hours of your life in solitude and silence without another person defining you, needing you, talking to you? What happens is you have to go to the Lord for identity, asking, “Who am I now, Lord?”

Third Sunday of Lent: Jesus’ Commandment Is Love

We must learn to move beyond ourselves, to say no to instant gratification, to set limits on our own needs and somehow meet someone else’s needs. That’s why Jesus commanded us to love. Until we love, we really do not even know who we are.

Monday: Praying in Your Rhythm

There isn’t just one way to be in prayer, communication or relationship. Respect the rhythm of your life and know that it will change at different periods of your life.

Tuesday: Longing for Union

To talk to God takes a childlike attitude. If we need always to be in control, we can’t talk like a child to our mother.

Wednesday: The Self-Revelation of God

The dialogue between God and humanity is the give-and-take of self-revelation and response. In prayer God is gradually disclosing, revealing who God is.

Thursday: Real Prayer

The most simple rule for good prayer is honesty and humility. One can never go wrong with those two, even if it means giving God your anger or distractions.

Friday:—God Is Seducing Us

God put passion within us so that we could understand some of what God is about. Will we ever trust that desirous and desiring place within our own hearts, where God is a passionate God?

Saturday:—Love Your Enemies

Fear is the major barrier to the emergence of great faith and great-souled people. How many of us love other people who kick us around, who make it hard for us? That’s what Jesus commands.

Fourth Sunday of Lent: I Will Be With You

Moses’s power is the presence of the Lord. That’s all! In every religious experience in the Bible, a person comes to an experience of God and God says simply, “I will be with you.”

Monday: Keep a Blank Sheet Ready

Get your own agenda, hurts, neediness and fears out of the way, so that you’ve offered God a blank sheet to write on when it’s time to write some words on your soul.

Tuesday: Our Daily Bread

The whole message of the Hebrew people in the desert is a message of continued dependence on God, minute-by-minute learning to trust in Providence.

Wednesday: The Security to Be Insecure

God calls us on a journey of faith, like walking into a darkened room. We walk slowly, bumping into things. We learn total dependence on God.

Thursday: Stripped in the Desert

When all of our idols are taken away, all our securities and defense mechanisms, we find out who we really are. God takes away our shame, and we are able to present ourselves to God poor and humble.

Friday: Love Challenges the Beloved

Humans do not want a God of love: We seek to hide from it and destroy it. So people sought to destroy Jesus. Religion, lightly taken, is more comfortable than religion, a love relationship.

Saturday: Jesus Saves

The apostles speak with boldness and fire. In the name of Jesus all power is given to me! Are we Catholics today proud of Jesus?

Fifth Sunday of Lent: The Attitide of Faith

Unless we can presume that the Lord is speaking right now, how can we believe that he ever spoke? To have an attitude of faith is to hear the Lord speaking everywhere and all the time, in the concrete and ordinary experiences of our lives.

Monday: Fought-for Faith

God gives us meaning, not answers. The suffering of life is the suffering of every marriage union, every love relationship, like the suffering of the prophets in their relationship to God.

Tuesday: Becoming Who We Really Are

God takes human life seriously. To come into this world we will discover ourselves as beloved son, daughter, brother, sister, mother and father.

Wednesday: Earning God’s Love

The greatest act of faith is to believe God loves you, even in your nakedness, poverty and sinfulness. Regardless of what we think, we do not earn God’s love.

Thursday: Perfection

None of us is perfect. God loves us exactly as we are. There is nothing to attain for God to love us any differently. That’s a liberating message.

Friday: The ‘This-ness’ of Things

Creation is always redemption. Already in the act of creation, God has named you. God created you as you, in your unique “this-ness.”

Saturday: Foundation of Life

You can only build on life; all else is sand. Our journey into ever-deeper life is the essence of faith community.

Palm Sunday: ‘I Love You’

The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: He, who was everything, had everything taken away from him. He, who was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was crowned with thorns. He is the eternal sign of God to humans, yet his arms were nailed open because he said in his life three most dangerous words: “I love you.”

Monday: Patience

Why should God give us anything we ourselves are not willing to work for? We pray, “Do it, God!”, but also “We will do it, too!” God creates and invites us to co-create. What trust and infinite patience!

Tuesday: The Time Is Here!

Salvation is now. We have a tendency to point ourselves backward or forward in time, but the Gospels say either we are letting Jesus save us now or we are not letting him save us at all.

Wednesday: Father and Son

Jesus praying to Abba, “Daddy,” brings out the beautiful relationship in which Jesus grows with his Father, of being the loving, trusting son. In Gethsemane, and from the cross, he cries out, “Daddy!” Jesus seeks at all costs to be true to his Father.

Holy Thursday: Footwashing

Peter symbolizes all of us as he protests, “You will never wash my feet!” (Jn 13:8). Sometimes we think we are being heroic in not letting God love us. Yet only when Peter allows Jesus to minister to him does he experience Jesus’ meaning.

Good Friday: The Price of Truth

The cross is our obedience to the price of truth and love—with no assurance that it is going “to work.” As in the life of Jesus, the cross leads us to perfect faith. The cross is doing the truth, laying down one’s life for one’s friends.

Easter Vigil: Love It to Death

Jesus is our guarantee of God’s promise. What happened in his body is the pattern of what must happen in all of the cosmos. We are optimistic because we look at him and see the final pattern: It worked; the leap of faith was not in vain.

This Update is excerpted from the St. Anthony Messenger Press book Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr, edited by John Feister. Fr. Richard, a Franciscan, is author of numerous books, an international speaker and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

NEXT: Easter Liturgies (by Lawrence E. Mick)

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