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Lenten reflection


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Source: Deep Down Things
by Richard McCullen, C.M.
17 March 1991

Published in: Spiritual
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Lenten reflection

  1. 1. Lenten Reflection by  Richard  McCullen,  C.M.  
  2. 2. "Truly,  truly  l  say  to  you,  unless  a  grain  of   wheat  falls  into  the  earth  and  dies,  it   remains  alone,  but  if  it  dies,  it  bears   much  fruit."  (Jn  12:24).
  3. 3. For  a  Christian,  that  is,  for  a  follower  of  Christ,  it  is  important   that  he  or  she  knows  how  to  die.  I  am  not  now  thinking  so   much  of  death  at  the  end  of  our  lives,  though  dying  is   necessary,  if  we  are  to  enter  fully  into  the  joy  of  living  with   Christ  in  heaven.  I  am  thinking  of  the  importance  for  a   Christian  to  be  able  to  say  no  to  himself.
  4. 4. One  day  Our  Lord  said:  "If  anyone  will  come   after  Me,  he  must  deny  himself..."     (Mt  16:24).     To  deny  oneself  means  to  say  no  to  oneself.
  5. 5. Supposing  you  are  about  to  make  a  journey   on  foot  and  you  are  not  too  sure  of  the   road.  You  will  ask  directions.  You  might   consult  a  map.  Then  you  set  out.  You  reach   a  junction  in  the  road.  One  road  goes  down   into  a  valley  and  another  road  goes  up  a  hill.   You  hesitate  and  wonder  which  road  you   will  take.
  6. 6. You  know  that  the  place  to  which  you  are   going  lies  on  the  other  side  of  the  hill.  The   easier  road  goes  down  the  hill,  which  will   demand  much  less  energy,  but  you  know   that  it  is  round  about  and  dangerous.  The   other  road  is  a  steep  climb.  You  would  like   to  go  down  the  hill  to  save  yourself  effort,   but  your  better  judgment  will  suggest  that   you  take  the  more  difficult,  uphill  road,   knowing  it  will  bring  you  to  the  place  to   which  you  are  going.
  7. 7. It  is  like  that  with  us  on  the  journey  of   life.  We  must  make  choices.  Our   instincts,  our  selfishness,  our  pride  will   often  suggest  to  us  to  follow  them.  It  is   an  easier  road.  But  Christ,  His  Church  and   our  consciences  suggest  another  way.  To   follow  that  road,  we  must  say  no  to  our   natural  instincts.
  8. 8. It  may  be  difficult  and  demand  much  effort,  but  that  effort  will   bring  with  it  a  peace  and  contentment  that  money  will  not   buy.  "Unless  a  grain  of  wheat  falls  into  the  earth  and  dies,  it   remains  a  single  grain  of  wheat;  but  if  it  dies,  it  brings  a  good   harvest."  Years  after  Our  Lord  had  spoken  those  words,  St.   Paul  told  his  converts:  "Those  who  belong  to  Christ  have   crucified  their  lower  nature  with  all  that  it  loved  and  lusted   for."  (Gal  5:24).
  9. 9. Lent  is  a  time  when  we  think  about  doing   some  crucifixion  of  our  lower  nature.  That   does  not  mean  that  we  banish  all  pleasure,   all  joy  from  our  lives.  Lent  is  a  time  when  we   check  on  the  direction  our  lives  are  taking.
  10. 10. Do  we  always  take  the  easy,  downhill  road   in  every  choice  we  make?  Lent  is  a  time   when  we  apply  the  brakes  to  downhill   movements  in  our  lives  and  try  to  change   direction  and  to  change  gear.  We  do  that  by   allowing  Jesus  Christ  to  have  a  greater  say   in  our  lives,  in  our  decisions,  in  our   thoughts,  in  our  actions.  That  will  mean   saying  no  to  ourselves,  perhaps  many  times   a  day.
  11. 11. By  saying  no  to  ourselves,  we  are  like  the   little  grain  of  wheat  that  dies.  Once  we  have   said  no  to  ourselves  and  have  died  a  little,   we  will  experience  new  life  and  a  new  peace.
  12. 12. Invite  Jesus  Christ,  then,  into  your   lives  and  He  will  help  you  on  the   uphill  road,  for,  as  He  assures  us,   "If  I  am  lifted  up  from  the  earth,  I   will  draw  all  people  to   Myself."  (Jn  12:32).
  13. 13. Source:  Deep  Down  Things   by  Richard  McCullen,  C.M.   17  March  1991