Lent is a time period of deep spiritual reflection and examination. For what it may be worth in your Lenten journey consider this:
I have spent many hours in prayer, reflection and meditation in the cemetery but for some strange reason out of all of those visits this is what struck me profoundly this early morning. As I looked about at the tombstones I noticed that what is marked are the persons’ names and the span of their life on this earth. I realized that a person’s name is the closest thing to them. It’s a major part of their perceived identity after they are born. Or, for a Christian it might be later the name placed upon them during baptism. When someone calls us by name it even has a certain vibration to it that we resonate to. But, who is this person that each of us is before and behind the name? What is our face before God…before the name…or (dare I say it) our naked presence before God?
As I noticed the dates on the tombstones I was realizing that we’re each granted so many years on this earth. Did these individuals whose bodies now lay in the graves discover their face before God and their reason for existence on this earth? Were they in communion with that reality…or did they consider themselves separate from God? Was God “out there” and they were “here.”
Lenten disciplines generally consist of fasting, praying, spiritual reading, etc; in other words, tasks. But what about taking some time, making some space, to be absolutely alone with the ever-present reality of God and discovering more deeply who we each are in Him? What is our face…our very presence… before God? Why are we here? Who really am I?
If we can discover, not a written statement about it, but a truer “realization” of this, then when we come to the end of Lent we truly will realize the Joy of the Resurrection of Christ for we will sense it, feel it, in the depths of our heart. As a person we will be “lifted up” into new life and we will be authentically able to proclaim Christ is Risen because we will know it deep inside. It won’t be just shouting words at the Paschal liturgy because “it’s the thing to do.”
For what it’s worth realize your name, and mine, will be on a tombstone with the dates of our earthly existence. This will mark us on this earth. It won’t say how many services we went to, how well we fasted, how pious we looked, how many spiritual books we read, etc. It will be only our name and the short space between the years we were here. It seems it would be well worth it to discover, realize, and rest in that beloved presence that we each are in God while we are now here. So amidst your spiritual reading, fasting, alms giving, verbalization of prayers, etc, take time to discover who you are in God. Take time to let God gaze upon you and you to feel that warmth and come to know…really know…who you are in Him!
Great Lent 2018