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Reflection on the Second Sunday of Lent from the Carmelite Parish

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Catherine Allen

Reflection

We live in a world that largely promotes hard data and evidence as being prerequisite to understanding, belief and action. This foundation for decision-making and direction can push aside faith, hope and love as essential elements. These intangibles do not present the quantifiable substance to influence decision­making. Without them, however, we can tend towards a life which imitates the pursuit and demonstration of possessions rather than reflection and imitation of actions; Jesus' actions. If we strip away the 'things' of life, what is it we see that we truly need to live? Faith, hope, love, acceptance, forgiveness and mercy within and across community. This would be a spiritual awakening.

Like Jesus did with Peter, John and James, we need to rise above our physical world to gain perspective and really see. We too might then see a glimpse of glory. We might allow ourselves to be enthralled, captivated, hopeful. Ideally we would not then shrink and hide from this as did the three. What is to be gained? Lent is the perfect time for this reflection. We might stop and consider our endeavours and lived purpose. We might allow our­selves clarity in our assessment of our impact on our world; our relationships, our work, our seemingly incidental interactions with others and on the environment. We may honestly repent and redirect, even if in doing so pain is, necessarily, involved.

All life includes pain and pain can invite learning, clarification and growth. We can learn a lot about ourselves when we are confronted with and tackle painful situations and circumstances. We can also exercise healthy and necessary humility. We might authentically see our need for God. Rather than give up faith and hope, take up our challenges. Sometimes God is working with, for and through us in mysterious ways. Our plan may not reach fruition but is it our plan which needs fulfilment, or God's? In God's plan we are an integral, precious member of a commu­nity, with obligations and responsibilities to live optimally for the good of all. In this year of Mercy especially, we might confront the bewildering, overwhelming or frightening and be lead to be the bigger person, sustained by the Holy Spirit. We might fight against fear, judgement and condemnation and, instead, seek to understand and embrace all with love. The love, courage and fortitude thus lived will lead us to Easter and its gift of everlast­ing life and entry to the heavenly community. This Lent may we actively pursue right judgement.

Catherine Allen, Parishioner of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Australia,

As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven.

 



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