Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reflection for the Second Week of Lent

Reflection for the Second Week of Lent

A Reading from the Gospel of Mark 8:34-36

And Jesus summoned the multitude with the disciples, and said to them, "If any would come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who would save their life will lose it; and those who lose their life for my sake and the Gospel's will save it. For what advantage is it, to gain the whole world and forfeit one's life? "

A Lenten Exercise of Nonviolence
From a column by Father John Dear, SJ

Recently, a friend and I were discussing how it took Thomas Merton, the great monk, 20 years in a Trappist monastery, before he began to deal seriously with his own inner violence. Look it up. On August 21,1962, he wrote in his journal:

Today I realize with urgency the absolute seriousness of my need to study and practice nonviolence. Hitherto I have "liked" nonviolence as an idea. I have "approved" it, looked with benignity upon it, praised it even earnestly. But I have not practiced it fully. My thoughts and words retaliate. I condemn and resist adversaries when I think I am unjustly treated. I revile them, even treat them with open (but polite) contempt to their face. The energy wasted in contempt, criticism and resentment is thus diverted from its true function -- insistence on truth.

If such is the case with Merton, certainly with us. Our following the nonviolent Jesus requires the daily inner work of deepening nonviolence. And what a better time than Lent? It's a time to look deeply at what's going on inside us and, where we are violent, to repent and then to offer ourselves mercy. The more we show compassion toward ourselves, the more we will toward our neighbors.


Come Lord!
Do not smile and say
you are already with us.
Millions do not know you
and to us who do,
what is the difference?
What is the point
of your presence
if our lives do not alter?
Change our lives, shatter
our complacency.
Make your word
flesh of our flesh,
blood of our blood
and our life's purpose.
Take away the quietness
Of a clear conscience.
Press us uncomfortably.
For only thus
That other peace is made,
Your peace.

-Dom Helder Camara

From the Kirkridge Retreat Center - Bangor, Pennsylvania 18013

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