Just a closer walk with Thee … Grant it, Jesus, is my plea…
Daily walking close to Thee … Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Dear Brothers and Partners,
Ash Wednesday begins our familiar journey through Lent to Holy Week and Easter. It is the perennial call to “leave everything” (Lk 5:28) and to follow Jesus more nearly as his disciples. The Rule for our life as Brothers states, “Freely, and without any thought of turning back, we base our whole existence on the Gospel in order to follow Jesus”. (Art 22) Frankly, it’s a bit daunting! Thank God we know how the journey ends, know it’s not travelled in a day, and know it’s not travelled alone!
For some years I worked in center city Philadelphia. Each Ash Wednesday I was moved by the throngs of Philadelphians who would empty their office buildings and skip lunch to dash into a nearby church to receive ashes in the sign of the cross. There is something powerful in us that yearns to be reconciled and to be put right with God and with each other! Jesus moves us now to take the next step and to make good on the symbolism: to spend more time with Him, to fast from the things that keep us self-absorbed, and to live our lives more generously for others.
We are given the gift of this season to allow God’s grace to work in our lives and to help us to become more loving, more Christ-like. The days ahead, the readings, the rituals, and the practices do not promise miracles. They are not magical nor do they make life easy. But they remind us who we are and to Whom we belong. They invite us to a deeper place, a place where the risen Jesus has gone ahead of us, calls us, and awaits us!
Lent is not just about “me and Jesus”. It’s also about our relationship with Him and each other, especially our sisters and brothers most in need. “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?” (Mt 25: 44). Taking that closer walk with Jesus is more than just avoiding evil. Our relationship with Jesus also demands actively doing good; it’s about putting our faith and love into action. This year as we “walk the walk” with Jesus let us also do as he did. Let us be forgiving, healing, and reconciling in our communities and families, our ministries, and our world.
The words of the familiar spiritual above are the secret to our ongoing work of becoming disciples and making our hearts and actions one with Jesus.
… Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be!
Blessings on the Lenten journey ahead, one day at a time!
Brother Dennis Malloy, FSC