Daily Reflection
March 5th, 2004
Roc O'Connor, S.J.
Theology and Campus Ministry
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Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord God.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?

For the past few semesters in the upper division theology classes I teach here at Creighton, I have used an article by Mark Searle, "The Journey of Conversion."  I'm sure I have alluded to it in the past because it is such a rich source for reflection on sacraments and a spur to living the Christian life with more intention.

Today, I want to "borrow" that part of the article in which he poses three questions about Christian sacraments.  As you read these, think of our scripture passages today and our context of the Lenten journey.

1. What is being left behind?
2. What is this person or community called to?
3. How is this transition to be made and what does it involve?

Let me model a reflection on the first reading here: today's first reading seems to address mainly the first two questions.

First, Ezekiel calls us to leave all our sins and crimes behind, turning away from them.  Second, he calls us to several responses: take responsibility for one's sins, keep God's statutes, and do what is right and just. The context for doing all that is the prophet's invitation to trust in the God "who does not desire the death of the wicked."

Now that I look at this pattern, I see that the final context mentioned above addresses question three: Trust in God is essential to the transition between leaving one's sins and taking up a new way of living.  Why?  Because you and I cannot face our iniquity unless we do it in that deeply welcoming place of God's loving intent to save us.

At this point in time, this means to me that one aspect of this Lenten journey is the call to grow in the capacity to mediate God's graciousness in a God-like fashion.

That is, I believe I am invited this Lent to look at my deeds with a new-found clarity grounded in the divine embrace.  I am asked to learn to be like God, receiving and holding the mystery of my own iniquity with love and mercy.


Seems to me that only through this movement of spirit, which the Orthodox boldly call "divinization" (the goal of the spiritual life), can I face that mystery of not only my own iniquity but also that of my community, our parish, our archdiocese, our Church, our nation, and our world.  Facing that, maybe I and we can turn from sin, take responsibility for what we have done, ask for forgiveness and live justly.

Happy Lent!


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