Lenten Reflections Week Two: How well do we listen?
Mark’s Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent takes us to the mountain-top where we, in the company of Jesus’ close friends, witness his transfiguration; his divinity is revealed. The voice of the Father is heard, declaring Jesus to be his Beloved Son and commanding that we ‘Listen to him.’
How do we listen in the way the Father intends? Surely this listening is a special kind of listening? It requires deep attention and focus. Our world is noisy, many of our homes, busy places. So many devices emit sound – often the car radio turns on automatically as we set off on even a short journey! People have lots to say – opinions, news, up-dates; all have their place. Silence can be hard to find. At our Baptism, we became the beloved of the Father and the Divinity came to live within each of us – made us their home. To listen to the God within is simple – we need only enter into this Presence; find a quiet place, and in the silence, listen attentively to our Beloved; this is prayer – a being with the one whom we know, loves us, from within. Words are not needed but listening is.
Lenten Reflections Week One: A Tethered Bird
On this this first Sunday in Lent, Mark’s Gospel takes us into the desert where we join Jesus in his prayer, fast and temptation. Our Lenten journey begins – our opportunity to deepen our relationship with God, taking Jesus as our model. What form should our fasting take and what is its purpose?
St John of the Cross, Carmelite priest and Doctor of the Church explained that the soul which is ’attached’ to anything is not free. He compared it to a bird which is tethered; whether it be held by a rope or a slender thread, the bird cannot fly freely. Our goal in the spiritual life is to reach union with God, to be held in His love at the deepest level. Our attachments – the things and practices which bind us – hold us back from living fully and freely in the love of God.
We are invited during Lent to reflect on what our own personal attachments might be. These may not be bad in themselves but may have a hold on us – we have to see that television programme, use that device, have that drink, listen to that music, play that game, or whatever it may be. Choosing to let go of a particular attachment during the season of Lent sets us free and lets our spirit soar in the Love of God.