"Live a More Sober Life"

Wonderful invitation from Pope Benedict XVI, to live more soberly and, as we prepare for Lent, to trust more in God.

Hanging on to Lent

Whew. And what a Lent it’s been so far.

So much happening in the world, and in my own life that I haven’t really known where to start blogging.

It’s amazing when you think of praying your way through situations, and in general. I had started Lent with a series of meditations on the Sorrows of Jesus, and the sorrows of Mary. Easter was creeping into my thoughts more and more, and everything started to take my focus away from prayer … so today I reigned in my thoughts and actions anew.

I brought my thoughts to bear once again on the sorrowful mysteries of Christ, and the sorrows of Mary; powerful memories swept over me again, and my thoughts turned to a more objective meditation on my own sorrows. Helen Keller’s famous quote is beautiful: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Sorrows and trials limn the joyful moments of life.

Mid-Lent

Here it is mid-Lent and I am recollecting my Lenten obligations and goals. It’s safe to say there have been a lot of distractions, but that’s life isn’t it? If one never gets beyond those things which detract from prayer, then one will probably never pray.

One thing that’s been helping is remembering the difference between meditation and contemplation. While I wish that every time the moment came for prayer I was ‘in the mood’ for prayer, and that I immediately entered into some sort of contemplative reverie and felt God’s peace flowing through me, that has simply not been happening of late. Meditation involves fixing our thoughts and concentration, filling our mind; contemplation is a gift from God which flows from meditation.

So I meditate on the holy mysteries, and consciously fill my mind with thoughts of Christ’s passion, of Mary’s sorrows, the mysteries of Scripture, the mysteries of the Faith. I’m occasionally led into a true sense of contemplation, but more often than not I’m undertaking a conscious act of the will to dwell upon, to fill my mind with, thoughts of Jesus Christ.

I’ll be following up with some of the fruits of those exercises.

Fr. Kenneth Allen