Mid-Lent Review

Jack Mahoney, SJ,  suggests we review our Lenten program. But be careful: “What we should avoid is the almost magical or superstitious feeling that whatever we do in religion must be done completely and meticulously, like completing a novena or an indulgence or a chain prayer. For one thing, the Lord may have made it clear that he has different plans for us.”  He quotes and paraphrases John Calvin, who said that:

by God’s grace we are freed from having to observe rigorously and scrupulously whatever the Lord requires of us, as if we were terrified slaves. On the contrary, he points out, we are God’s beloved children; and like any devoted parent he is delighted with us when we do not hesitate to offer him trustingly ‘works that are only begun or half finished, or even with something faulty in them,’ works which a less loving observer would judge poor or inadequate.What counts, Calvin maintains, is that our ‘obedience and readiness of mind will be accepted, although the performance be less exact than was wished.’

So, where we may feel at this stage of Lent that there was more that we might have done, or could have done, the prayer, too for this Third Sunday of Lent, is highly appropriate: ‘Father, you have taught us to overcome our sins by prayer, fasting and works of mercy. When we are discouraged by our weakness, give us confidence in your love.’

Read the whole thing.

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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



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