In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy
Lent is a time of repentance, a time when our heart
of stone must be made by the power of God into a heart of flesh, from
insensitive to become perceptive, from cold and hard to become warm and
open to others, and indeed, to God Himself.
Lent is a time of renewal when, like in spring,
everything become new again; when our life that had gone into a twilight
becomes alive with all the intensity which God can communicate to us,
humans, by making us partakers of His Holy Spirit, by making us
partakers, through the Holy Sacraments and the direct gift of God, of
the Divine nature.
It is a time of reconciliation, and reconciliation is
a joy: it is God's joy, and it is our joy; it's a new beginning.
Today is the day of Saint John of the Ladder, and I
want to read to you a few phrases of his which are relevant to the
particular time of the year in which we live:
УRepentance, that is our return to God is renewal of
our baptism; it is our effort to renew our covenant with God, our
promise to change our life. It is a time when we can acquire humility,
that is peace; peace with God, peace with ourselves, peace with all the
created world. Repentance is born of hope and rejection of despair. And
one who repents is one who deserves condemnation Ч and yet, goes away
from the tribunal without shame, because repentance is our peace with
God. And this is achieved through a worthy life, alien to the sins we
committed in the past. Repentance is cleansing of our conscience.
Repentance implies carrying off all sadness and pain.Ф
And if we ask ourselves how we can achieve it, how we
can come to this, how we can respond to God Who receives us as the
father received the prodigal son, a God Who has waited for us,
longingly, Who, rejected, never turned away from us Ч how can we respond
to Him? Ч here is a short word about prayer :
УDon't use in prayer falsely wise words; because it
is often the simple and uncomplicated whispering of children that
rejoices our heavenly Father. Don't try to say much when you speak to
God, because otherwise your mind in search of words will be lost in
them. One word spoken by the publican brought Divine mercy upon him; one
word filled with faith saved the thief on the cross. The use of the
multiplicity of words when we pray disperses our mind and fill it with
imaginations. One word spoken to God collects the mind in His presence.
And if a word, in thy prayer, reaches you deeply, if you perceive it
profoundly Ч dwell in it, dwell in it, because at such moments our Angel
guardian prays with us because we are true to ourselves and to GodФ.
Let us remember what Saint John of the Ladder says,
even if you forget the short comments which I introduced to make his
text more readily understandable. Let us remember his words because he
was a man who knew what it means to turn to God, to stay with God, to be
GodТs joy and to rejoice in Him. He is offered us in this time, when we
are ascending towards the days of the Passion, he is offered us as an
example of what grace Divine can do to transform an ordinary, simple
human being into a light to the world.
Let us learn from him, let us follow his example, let
us rejoice in what God can do by His power in a human being, and let us
confidently, with faith, with an exulting and yet serene joy follow the
advice, listen to God begging us to find a way of life and telling us
that with Him, in Him we will be alive, because He is the Truth but also
the Way and also Life eternal. Amen.