01 March 2010

Monday of the Second Week of Lent: A Short Reflection

1 MARCH 2010. Today is Monday of the second week of Lent. The ashes of Ash Wednesday have been washed from our skin, but the dry, coarse texture of the ash is still with us. Having buried the "Alleluia" at the beginning of Lent, we are now well on our way on the Lenten journey: no longer at the outset, but now immersed in this season.

This season, though, does not bring about dryness and coarseness in our spiritual life. Instead, it is an opportunity to rest in Christ: a calling to spend more time in prayer, a calling to refresh ourselves in the gifts of the Trinity.

Saint Catherine of Siena, a fourteenth century tertiary Dominincan, mystic, and doctor of the Church, received the great grace of conversing directly with Christ who appeared to her. In Christ's first appearance to Saint Catherine, while she was at prayer, our Lord said:
Do you know, daughter, who you are and who I am? If you know these two things you have beatitude in your grasp. You are she who is not, and I AM HE WHO IS. Let your soul become penetrated with this truth, and the Enemy can never lead you astray . . . .
I imagine these words being spoken by Christ to me today: "You are he who is not." This definition of myself is the antithesis of God's words to Moses from the burning bush: "I AM WHO AM." (Exodus 3, 13-14 NAB) But, it is not a condemnation by our Lord of His creation. No, instead Christ's words to Saint Catherine of Siena say that everything she has--the very root of her being--is not hers, but a gift from God. Then, Christ calls for Saint Catherine to allow this truth to penetrate her.

I pray that this truth of Christ will penetrate us too. Refresh yourself in the truth of God. The very nature that we have is not ours, but a gift from our loving God. He is all and we are nothing, but in our nothingness, we are borne up by Christ in the ultimate act of His redemptive love, which is quite the opposite of nothing. His love is everything. So, we can see, that in our lowliness Christ has lifted us up and given us everything--His very self.

Pray. Refresh yourselves in this truth. Nourish your soul with prayers of thanksgiving for the gifts of God, the gift of our very selves.

IMAGE: Saint Catherine of Siena by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770).

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