If You Are Comfortable With Lent, Something Is Wrong

11 Mar

“Our primitive rule states that we must pray without ceasing.  If we do this with all the care possible — for unceasing prayer is the most important aspect of the rule — the fasts, the disciplines, and the silence the order commands will not be wanting.  For you already know that if prayer is to be genuine, it must be helped by these other things; prayer and comfortable living are incompatible.”  ~ St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila, a powerhouse of a religious, grounded herself in a prayer that was so pure that she was able to face obstacles that most would claim as insurmountable.  She faced her obstacles and then overcame them.  She challenged the Church in her time to devote itself to prayer and service.

She has left us a wonderful reflection that I have shared a time or two in the past but that bears repeating today as it should help us to center upon what we do throughout the Lenten season:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

It is difficult to think about the responsibility that has been given to us by God.  It is an awesome responsibility and one that extends to all of our brothers and sisters.  If it were simply about ourselves, Lent would be much easier to do.  However, Lent challenges us to be more grounded so that we could serve more faithfully.  The reason for serving, Teresa made quite clear:  we are the hands, feet, eyes, and voice of God in the world today.

There may have been times when we were very much in need; yet, we received no help.  That might have marked us or wounded us.  It might have made us feel left in a lurch or unloved or unwanted.  Hold on to that feeling and make sure that no one has to feel that way around you.  If someone is in need, reach out.  You remember what it was like when no one reached out to you.

And while you do all that you do this Lent, remember that the fuel that you will need to accomplish your promises can be found in a life solidly grounded in prayer.  Do not sell yourself short.  Pray constantly.  It will help you through the day and through your life.  If you pray fervently and often enough, it will even spill over into the lives of those around you.

FAITH ACTION:  Renew your Lenten purpose today and make sure that you back all that you do with considerable prayer.