March 15, 2023
by Mary Lee Brock
Creighton University's Graduate School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 239

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
Matthew 5:17-19

Praying Lent Home

During this season of Lent, I have prayed to God for the grace to have the courage to honestly look at my sinfulness.  While I worried that I would be left feeling shame and remorse, the honesty has brought me closer to God.

In today’s readings we hear about the commandments of the Lord both from Moses in the first reading from Deuteronomy and from Jesus in the Gospel from Matthew.  When I first hear the words pertaining to the statutes and decrees and commandments, I feel a sense of calm as it all seems so straightforward.  Then my prayer takes me to my own sinfulness, and I am left wondering how and when and why I am not consistently following the guidance of God’s word.  Jesus makes it clear that he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.

In my profession of conflict resolution, we work with people who are preparing for difficult conversations.  People in conflict are seeking answers (and many times vindication).  Algernon in the Oscar Wilde play, The Importance of Being Earnest, states: the truth is rarely pure and never simple.  The desire for proof of one’s truth fuels conflict.  When disputants are arguing their points, we conflict practitioners need to remind them that while the language in the contract might seem straightforward, the disagreement is around what the words mean.

As I search for ways to obey and teach the commandments Jesus asks, I wonder how I can faithfully interpret what the commandments mean.  In the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius invites us to imagine two standards:  one of good and the other evil.  The standard of Christ focuses on poverty, rejection and humility.  The standard of Satan is characterized by riches, honor and pride.   While there is not one perfect truth about the best way to live a life oriented to standard of Christ, there are opportunities all day, every day to do so.

The two standards help me look at my sinfulness in an honest way.  I ask God to show me the times in my life when my ego and pride are motivating my choices, and I pray for the strength to reject the prideful stance and truly be of service to others.  I thank God for the moments in my life when I have experienced deep humility.  I look for ways to be reminded that I have all that I need to serve God, and I ask for help to push away any worries I may have about material possessions.

This Lent I am grateful to know the truth of my sinfulness and the desire for the Standard of Christ to guide my life.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook