February 26, 2021
by Larry Gillick, S.J.
Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 228

Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8
Matthew 5:20-26

Praying Lent

How Come I Fear Lent?

Lenten Audio Conversations:
Brief words about what's happening each week.

With text transcripts of the Conversations which can be shared with others.

Cooking Lent
Recipes for all the Fridays of Lent and for Good Friday

Beyond Chocolate: A Deeper Lent

On January first, 1893, two men began a “mail-order” commercial business. They had catalogues published displaying their offerings.  Readers could mail in their requests and eventually the desired product would arrive in the mail as well. Nothing too personal in that interchange. With the Digital Age, Sears and Roebuck have given way to larger and quicker providers of our wants and/or needs.

Robots have replaced Roebuck. These computer-driven finders are sent through the lanes and aisles to the exact row, then to the proper shelf and then to grasp the desired box and return to the Director who then sends the electric seeker to retrieve the next item. Amazing!

This sort of seeking-and-finding to which we have become accustomed, does influence how we do “business” with the “Infinite Dispenser.”   Personal needs or wants can reflect our mechanical approach in our relationship with God.  My need energizes my entitlement, my sense of my faith becoming my payment for a rather immediate reaction from God. Our intensity of need can become a double-payment and what we desire will be retrieved and will arrive.

Jesus, here in the last chapter of Mathew’s Sermon on the Mount, can seem to be encouraging a prayer-practice of “quid pro quid,” a what for a what.  Seekers, askers, knockers seem to be promised to be the receivers.  So our modern-day digital mind might wonder if we have the correct words, phrasings, intentions to connect, convince and procure. What does it take on our part to get! The last verse of today’s Gospel has an invitation rather than an easy answer. Sorry about that.

My own father had a commanding verbal reaction to things my brothers and I might be doing which disturbed his fragile tranquility at times. “If you guys know what’s good for you, you’ll stop that!” We did know what’s good for us, to keep having fun until we could hear him coming up the stairs for further instructions, made very personally.

It is so difficult for us to know what’s good for us and so we ask, seek, and knock, and there is always an answer which sounds like, “Keep on keeping on with your seeking.” The Good Father in the words of Jesus, desires us children to learn through our facing our many desires, needs, wants, hungers, to be open to us when we knock with folded, prayerful, heartful, requests.

Most of what we pray for is our avoidances of experiencing our human poverty of mind, body and soul. It seems that God will never remove those experiences from us, but seems to keep, personally, inviting us through those poverties, to receive what is good for us as humans and that is to receive what comes in the mail of life, every day, every moment. Ouch! Faith is our response to our experiencing our poverty and Mr. Amazon can you send your finder to get me a large bucket of that, and soon?

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