lundi, février 11, 2008

Sermon for the First Sunday of Lent

God is in the heights and we always have to rise further if we want to join Him. Our reason is already able to reach certain truths about Him but is still unable to provide a home for us in Heaven. The Divine grace comes to our help by elevating us on a higher level, so that we can know God and love Him as He knows Himself and loves Himself. The grace is given to us, but as Saint Paul exhorts us at the beginning of this Lenten season, let us not receive it in vain. The grace is a principle of actions, and I would add, of divine actions. It makes us act like God, because it makes us act with and from charity. Charity might be a virtue in us, but it is also, as you know, a name of God, as it has been revealed: Deus caritas est; God is charity! So, for us, acting with and from charity makes us similar to God.
This is very beautiful on the paper, but it is not so easy in our daily lives. Between the idea of charity of which we sometimes dream and the practical charity with which we act, there is a huge gap.
At this point we might be tempted to say: “The perfection of Christian life is not for me. I am not like the Saints who had a great charity. So, I just try to do what I can do now with my modest means, and maybe God will be happy with me like that.” It might be a temptation, but let us not fall into it. Let us not content ourselves with what we do and what we are now. It would make us very mediocre Christians and it would be a shame. It would be a shame because we can do better and we can be better men. God wants this and gives us His grace for this. Let us not receive it in vain.
It is up to us, dear brethren to use well the gifts of God. And this is not possible if we do not enter into ourselves in order to meet God and listen to Him. Last week we saw that spiritual reading is a condition for this. Is there anybody or anything that impedes you from opening a good spiritual book every day, except your own laziness or lack of care for your soul?
Now let us suppose that you have already climbed the first rung of our ladder and that you are faithful to a regular spiritual reading. It is a good beginning, but you still have to bear fruit from your reading by climbing on the second rung, which is meditation. At this stage we can be tempted again to think that meditation is something difficult and that it is not for us, but only for certain kinds of people like monks or contemplative souls. Satan does his job very well and tries to discourage us always. Let us not pay attention to his voice.

It is important for us to meditate on our faith and on our lives with Christ. Meditation is thinking about this and raising your mind and your heart toward God. Everybody can do this. I am sure that you think every day about many subjects concerning your job, your family, and your projects of life. If you have a great decision to make, you certainly take time to think about that and probably you ask for advice. When something important is at stake, you want to be sure that you make the right decision.
Well, there is something very important in your life, which is the salvation of your soul, and this depends on your relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Francis de Sales says:
If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His likeness, and your actions will be molded on His. He is the Light of the world; therefore in Him, by Him, and for Him we shall be enlightened and illuminated; He is the Tree of Life, beneath the shadow of which we must find rest; He is the Living Fountain of Jacob's well, wherein we may wash away every stain.
When you love someone, this beloved person is constantly in your mind and in your heart. You think about him, enjoy being with him and wish you could be with him when you are separated. Is it the case about Jesus? Do you love Him? Do you need Him? Do you miss Him? Unless you take time every day to be with Him through your meditation, I don’t think it is possible. Then, if it is not the case, your Christian life might be only a formalism which consists in trying to follow in an external manner the Laws of God and of the church, with certainly many failures.
Meditating should help you to know Jesus better and consequently to love Him more. It is not possible to not love Him when you know Him, because He simply is lovable.
How do you meditate? It is simple. First, arrange your daily schedule in order to take 15 minutes a day, at least for beginners, and go to a quiet place: your room, a church or any other convenient place. Then consider that your are in the presence of God who knows everything about you and loves you. You can kneel and even bow to the ground as a sign of humility and respect. Adore your God for a couple of minutes and then ask Him for the grace to open your soul so that you can receive His lights. Ask Him for the grace that all your actions, all your thoughts and all your words will only be for His glory. And then, begin the meditation itself. You should have already chosen the subject beforehand. It can be anything about God, His perfections, His works or anything about the relationship between you and Him. What is certainly easier, because it is less abstract, is meditating on the life of Jesus. You can use a book to help you in your meditation, but be careful: meditation is not reading. You should have done your spiritual reading before, which helps you for your meditation. If you use a book during your mediation, it should be just to give you a framework and to help you to focus on your subject. Read one sentence and stop on it or even just after one word if you find some inspiration. Use your imagination. It is relatively easy, especially if you meditate on the life of Jesus. Look at Him, where He is, what He is doing. Look at the other people who are present. Put yourself in the picture. You are a witness of the acts of Jesus: you look at Him, you listen to Him and you think about this. That’s all. Be sure that you continue your meditation until the end of the time you decided. Don’t stop before, even if you are dry. If nothing comes to your mind, just stay in the presence of God.
At the end, speak to Our Lord, to the Father or the Holy Spirit, speak to Our Lady or to any Saint or angel. Give thanks for this time and beg pardon for your distractions. It is good also to make a resolution according to the subject of your meditation. It can be just to try to remember this meditation throughout your day, so that you can remain in the presence of the Lord. Always finish with a prayer.
As you see, it is simple and anybody, adults or children, can do this. And it can really change your life in many aspects; because it helps you consider anything with the sight of faith and increase your love.

May Our Blessed Mother encourage us to be faithful to our daily meditation, especially during this Lenten season, so that we can accompany Our Lord during His Passion and share with Him the great mystery of His love, which has no price.

1 commentaire:

Ingrida Krikštaponytė a dit…

Oui, sans lecture spirituelle, sans méditation on est tout simplement vide; ou bien on est plein de l’esprit du monde.