While the visible and external world of healthy religion is inspiring, a maturing faith requires an openness to the inner life.
The external practices and precepts of religion are signs that point us towards a deeper reality, a world where integrity is found, becoming ourselves in relationship with the divine.
This is the purpose of Lent and today’s Ash Wednesday’s scriptures highlight the generous and overwhelming love of God:
“turn to the Lord your God again,
for he is all tenderness and compassion,
slow to anger, rich in graciousness,
and ready to relent”
In the gospel reading Jesus calls us to nurture the secret life of the soul:
“go to your private room and,
when you have shut your door,
pray to your Father who is in that secret place”
In a world where everything is revealed and acted out in conversation and social media it is significant that both good psychology and good religion caution us against being motivated by what others think and say. Health professionals warn us against using any substance or practice to repress or run from our unique innermost realities.
Whenever we take time to, with Christ, face our own fears, something shifts. The burden eases. Our perspective broadens and positive possibilities appear and expand.
The secret is to take time to go to the secret and inner place, Try it for one minute whenever you think of it, stopped at a red light, hearing a phone ring, experiencing a positive or negative thought, whatever the prompt, take one minute to practice the presence of God.
Perhaps todays second reading gives the nudge we might need. When should I begin to life one hundred percent in relationship with Christ…
…”Well, now is the favourable time;
this is the day of salvation.”