Over and over the parables offered us during Lent speak to the need for spring cleaning, and often less than flatteringly pinpoint a few places to look, and questions to ask ourselves—ourselves, not those we are certain are sinning more than we are. Our work in these weeks is to allow our souls to be questioned by Jesus and his Gospel.

Like the tenants of the vineyard, what tender but well-patrolled territory of the heart or mind might any of us be defending against all comers and at all cost? For some of us, life is a lot like a game of Risk, with maybe a heaping dose of Monopoly thrown in—an endless series of calculations, defensive feints, offensive campaigns, scores, accounts, debts owed or debts to be collected. It is an endless loop of getting and staying in the game and staying ahead in whatever way we suppose that consists.

What is on offer to us at this time of repentance is nothing less than freedom from the need for self-defense, but freedom by way of repentance and accurate self-appraisal. In the rule that St Benedict wrote for his monasteries, he directs that in order to obtain this freedom of heart and peace of soul his monks may disclose their sickness of conscience to the abbot or one of the spiritual elders, who, Benedict says, “know how to heal their own wounds as well as those of others without exposing them and making them public.” (RB 46:5,6).

Today is a gift of another day for some Lenten house cleaning, a day for leaving Egypt behind with its disgrace and oppression. It is a day for leaving all the carefully accumulated, remembered, tagged, and catalogued accounts behind with the pig’s food in a far country. We are invited by Jesus to put down our weapons of bluff and self-defense, to back away slowly and surrender ourselves to the profligate, lavish mercy of God. Stumbling again on this rock of Jesus cracks our shaky self-identity open, allowing us to see that we are held in being not by our own exhaustingly small efforts but by God. And that identity as “child of the Father” cannot be shaken. There is true freedom, there is true rest.


Recent Issues

May 2024

March 2024

February 2024

January 2024

December 2023

November 2023

October 2023

July 2023

May 2023

January 2023

December 2022

October 2022

September 2022

July 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

January 2022

December 2021

November 2021

October 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015