Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sunday, Week One of Lent

“The LORD is full of compassion and mercy,*
slow to anger and of great kindness…
As far as the east is from the west,*
so far has he removed our sins from us.”
Psalm 130, Evening Prayer, First Sunday in Lent, the Daily Office Book, Year One

Stunning Russian Orthodox chant befitting Psalm 103! Click on the link below, go to the second track “Bless the Lord, O My Soul” and click “Listen”, close your eyes and try not to float away…

For me, the verse above has been of great consolation when struggling with the suffering I have caused to others and myself. These words have prompted me to work and accept the frailties I bear, to be open to them, and to be willing to treat them gently, and myself too, with compassion and mercy. What is it within yourself that you still have trouble accepting or forgiving?

Take some time this Lent and search the difficulty out. Slowly and with great kindness search out the wounded one within you and treat yourself with compassion and mercy and absent anger or bitterness. Just be with yourself and don’t judge, but be open and as loving as you would your own child, your own beloved. You are God’s beloved.

You are God’s beloved. We are all God’s beloved, no matter how wretched we feel in guilt or shame, we are all worthy of God’s compassion and mercy. God’s love is an invitation to let go, to be cleansed, to be healed, liberated, restored and transformed: To be forgiven and to forgive. There is no need to hang on, for in God’s love, and the love we have for one another in Christ, your suffering transgressions have been set apart from you and God as far as the east is from the west. That’s a long way, it’s eternal, for once you start traveling east, you never reach the west.

The key in this for me is in accepting mercy from God, so to make room for God and Christ within me, heart and mind. If I can’t accept myself and forgive myself, how can I ever accept Jesus’ compassionate love for me? I must accept the task of humility to cede my self-perception as un-worthy, to God’s perception of me as always being worthy of love. I, and we, are always worthy. No matter how difficult and painful it may seem, we must bear this cross and renounce our determination to judge ourselves and each other as unworthy.

We are called to enter the desert of our remorse and self-doubt and face The Accuser’s temptations to judge ourselves and each other. God has judged us already as worthy, worthy of God’s compassion and love. Can we denounce the Accuser’s temptations and accept God’s love, then rejoice in it and share it? We can, if we patiently believe and trust in God’s healing grace, ourselves, and each other.

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