I am a slow learner. I hear the sacred invitations of Lent and I still move toward the darkness. My life is busy right now and I wonder if my time with God in the desert is caving in on itself. Is it true that I need to understand darkness to be a child of the Light? Are all my examinations of the truth really helping me get ready for the sunrise? Or, am I making things harder for myself?
Together we’re in a Lenten desert where things aren’t too comfortable. God seems to have turned up the heat and hallowed out cool caves of confusion for us to take refuge. Our explorations of the caves of truth cause us to wonder. Is there a reason why we want to examine the rock formations within the dark? Can it also be our nature to stand and face the horizon, waiting to watch the glory of the sunrise? As light emerges can we listen to the songs of creation getting ready for a New Day?
I ponder these scenes in my heart when I remember to pause during my busy days. God is certainly using the local, natural beauty to ground me as I run around. I have to pay attention while I try to serve, teach, help and love. Every day is full of the Truth that can bring me closer to God. Truth can be rocky, heavy and hard.
This week daylight savings time has warped my routine some. My alarm clock becomes part of my dreams and I tune it out but the singing birds stir me out of slumber. Then, in a daze, I watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan and read psalms. I bow, blow out candles and say the Eucharistic prayer that my sisters say in our adoration chapel every hour with me while I am away on mission: “Sacrament most holy, Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine. Eucharistic heart of Jesus, furnace of Divine love, grant peace to the world.”
I gather my stuff and rush to work. On the way I encounter the needs of the world, hoping to bring the peace I pray for. Every child needs positive attention, every person needs to know that she is loved. I can’t keep up with the demands of being a teacher, no matter how much sleep I sacrifice or prayers I pray. It seems that I have to remain real. It’s more true to admit that I am doing my best but I would like to do better. A stone of truth in the cave is named: I must be humble.
I read the news and check my email. Awareness of injustices layer upon more demands. The freshness of the signs of spring stir worries and unrest. I am worried about the safety of the city, the garbage wrapping around fences and coating the land. I get crabby and annoyed that other people are messing up the world, but I fail to look in the mirror. Yet I am getting used to violent and cruel language. Along with other sufferings and wrong-doings, I tune things out instead of caring. Another rocky truth in the cave is named: I could be more loving and passionate about injustice.
When evening arrives I am exhausted but still spinning in restlessness. I realize I survived another day of mean misunderstandings and heavy work, but my guilt is stronger than gratitude. I feel like I need to keep working as long as I can or I won’t be ready for tomorrow. God stirs in my heart, asking me to sabbath. Come, rest in me. I shrug off God’s desert invitations and turn instead to shame and sorrow; I think I need to work harder. A boulder of truth in the cave is named: I need to trust in God.
I am glad that Lent is longer than a month because I seem to be a slow learner. I am getting it though, little by little, and with each new awareness my relationship with God is being restored and renewed. Eventually I’ll be able to leave the cool cave and re-encounter the heat of the furnace of Divine Love. Eventually all this Lenten work will ready me for the best sunrise ever: the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the true Light of the world.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. -John 3:19-20