This week is a second very simple meditation to prepare us to continue contemplating the life of Jesus. It also helps us to be quite careful and humble in the responses we will make to God’s invitation to free us more and more.
It is so important to remember that this is not about the choice to be a good person as opposed to a bad person. It is far subtler than that. We’re assuming that we have great and growing desires to know, love, and serve Jesus, who has freed us from our sins.
This week is a reflection on ways of responding. As we enter more deeply into a life that is drawing us into the pattern of Jesus’ own life, death, and resurrection, we are reflecting on how it is possible to avoid the freedom that is offered us. Then we are realizing that the only response we truly desire is to be free before everything in our lives.
To be human is to develop attachments to things, to habitual ways of being, to needs for security and identity. The purpose of this week is not to do an inventory of all the attachments in our lives. Our purpose here is to reflect on our response and to simply express our desire to be free.
Practically speaking, we can spend the whole week putting into words how we desire to respond. We can wake in the morning and go to bed at night saying the simple words, “My life is in your hands.” The threefold prayer to Mary, Jesus, and God to beg for these graces of freedom can be very powerful this week.
As we encounter the attachments of our life this week, we can simply acknowledge the attachment and then ask not to be rid of it but to be free before it. Let’s take a simple example. If I find that I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m too attached to my appearance, I can ask for the grace to desire only God’s glory, and not mine. I might put into words how I long to use my appearance not to attract people to me for my own self-absorbed purposes but so that I might be better able to serve God, and save my soul, by not caring whether I look attractive or don’t look attractive. My one desire will be to be however I can be to better serve God.
It might happen, that in the course of this week, we will struggle with this. We might discover a real resistance to being this free. We might find ourselves uncovering the depth of some of our attachments. We may discover a voice from inside saying, or perhaps shouting, “I don’t want to surrender so much. I don’t want to be spiritually poor and I sure don’t want to experience material poverty.” It’s at this time that there is great power in simply asking for the grace, with the voice in my heart that does desire to be more and more with and like Jesus and to continue to be invited by God into that union and imitation. We can say, “Lord, I want only what would make me truly free and truly happy.”
Finally, we can express our gratitude to God, who is drawing us closer to Jesus. We know we aren’t there yet, but we can feel the attraction growing within our hearts as we express our developing desires.