Tuesday, March 6, 2012

the path back home

Sometimes the enclosure of a monastery is a vast place, encompassing fields and woods as well as gardens.  I was once a retreatant in such a location, and found myself caught in the meadow during a sudden storm.  One minute I was strolling along under partly cloudy skies, and the next I was hearing cracks of thunder.  As I trudged up a long hill on the edge of a patch of woods, flashes of lightning streaked overhead.  

I think of this and wonder.  What if I strayed to the farthest edges of my enclosure?  What if I became so distracted by things outside God's will that I drifted off to its farthest limits?  What if something just beyond looked so enticing that I wandered right outside? 

I would then be stuck outside the cloister.  Maybe in a snowstorm, cold, on a slippery slope, away from the safety of my monastic home.  Oh why did I ever leave it, why did I drift so far?  

Is there a way back in?

The answer, in a word, is YES.  I know this through experience, and I'd bet that everyone reading this has had touches of mercy as well.  It we look around today and find we've strayed outside the enclosure of God's will, Lent is a good time to take a step back in.  

God has not left us "pathless."  "I am the way, and the truth, and the life," says Jesus (John 14:6). 

It is time to come Home.

For reflection:  
"The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with Him in an intimate friendship."  (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1468)

For prayer:  
"Though your sins be like scarlet, they will become white as snow."  (Isaiah 1:18)

"If we acknowledge our sins, He who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from every wrong."  (1 John 1:9)

"Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me Your paths.  Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and for You I wait all the day."  (Psalm 25:4-5)

(snow photo on this post © copyright 2012 E. Shuman.  All rights reserved.)  

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