Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Peace and Good!
Reflecting on the readings for Ash Wednesday always leaves me a little perplexed. Here is a day when we literally wear our faith on our foreheads, and yet we read the gospel where we are warned not to do our acts of prayer and penance in public. But, on reflection, it seems to me that what Jesus is saying, as always, is that we have to be careful of a faith that is satisfied with externals. What Lenten penance is all about is seeking, with God's grace, the harmony of the inner and outer person.
Francis surely struggled with this, as many of the stories tell us. I think perhaps he was more tempted by the outer show, even after his conversion, than the sources would like to admit. That is why he made dramatic gestures, but more importantly why he fled human applause to confront himself in the quiet of nature, and learn to seek the true God.
May this Lenten Spring bring us all true faith and the grace of God's mercy.