Grace: To be free from the obstacles in our lives and in ourselves that prevent us from knowing God and to trust that God will meet us when we sincerely seek Him.
Text for prayer: Ps 91
Reflection: Many years of St. Ignatius’s life were poured into the development of the Spiritual Exercises. This work, though, was not the labor wrought of some saintly theologian academically prescribing a rigid method of prayer. Rather, Ignatius gives us his own journey to God. Before the Saint and before his education, he found a path to God. His years were first spent on the journey and then later refining it so that it could be shared. These exercises are recognized as such a great gift because they work for all of us, whether one is a pauper or papal. If we enter this time with sincerity and an open heart, then there is little reason to fear that we are not going to do it right, for these exercises are not written just for theologians or spiritual giants, but for humans who seek God.
As we enter this Lenten Season, we should seek to enter with freedom. Many think that Lent simply means that we need to pray harder, longer, or go to an extra Mass or two. In this way it might feel much like an obligation or a duty. However, this time is better thought of as an invitation. It is an invitation into the realization of God’s life and the knowledge that God is with us. We are free to simply accept God as an obligation, but our lives are much more enriched when we realize that God is also an unconditional gift who deserves more than just obligatory respect.
Over the many days of Lent, we will not simply give up chewing gum but will ask God, as Ignatius did, to meet us here and now. None of this will be simple rote prayer, but a very real petition for God to meet us in our own lives and in His.
With today’s text let us ask for the freedom to pray this season with confidence that God will provide our thoughts and imagination with His direction. When we meditate, let us be confident that God is guiding our intellect, our memory, and our will to love in order to find Him. When we contemplate, let us be confident that God is directing all of our senses to come to a greater understanding of Christ’s life and, in turn, the meaning of our own lives.
Questions: What am I bringing to Lent this year? What do I most need to ask of the Lord? What concrete things can I do each day to grow closer to Him? What might stand in my way of doing this?