Thursday, 20 March 2014

Lent and Today's Reflections.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not giving anything up for Lent (unless it is some "time") but I am focusing more on deepening my faith.  I'm focusing on daily prayer using a Lenten Prayer Calendar as well as I've added a daily reflection using the guide "Lamentations for Lent".  This is in addition to my regular daily faith retreat that I've been doing for the last number of months.  I found a site online that offers a "3-Minute Retreat" that I visit every morning.

Today it was really interesting that all three of my faith deepening activities were similar and involved the same idea of following God's voice and direction for my day.  The "3-Minute Retreat" always offers two questions for me to ponder throughout my day.  Today's retreat dealt with "throwing the first stone" or gossip and judgement.  The questions were "What stones have I thrown recently in judgement of another?" and "How does recalling my own sinfulness help me relate to others?"  My Lenten Prayer Calendar suggestion for prayer today was "Pray that your decisions will be guided by the spirit".  The final line in the prayer at the end of my "Lamentations for Lent" reflection was "Let us not be in fear as we follow your voice."  All of these smacked me full force as I sat quietly and thought.  In my stillness and calmness this morning, I felt the urge (heard the voice?) of God's presence.

"What stones have I thrown recently in judgement of another?"  I believe we all do this whether it is in thoughts or spoken aloud.  Yesterday I was driving and was frustrated with another driver in front of me.  I sat in judgement of the older gentleman driving that car.  Did I tell anyone what I was thinking?  No.  But I thought it.  Have I spoken in judgement of others through conversations in the past?  Yes. Am I proud of this? No.  Last night I watched the Toronto Maple Leafs play against the Tampa Bay Lightning and saw a terrible hit where the Toronto Maple Leaf player laid motionless on the ice and was removed by stretcher.  I sat in judgement on the Tampa Bay Lightning player that delivered the hit.  Every time that I have these judgemental thoughts or make judgemental statements of other people, I feel negative energy within myself.  Do I want to call this sin?  No.  Do I want to admit that I sin?  No.  It doesn't feel good to acknowledge my failings.  But isn't this the whole reason for Lent and Easter?

"How does recalling my own sinfulness help me relate to others?"  So as I thought about this, I realized that by recognizing my "throwing stones" and admitting that I've been sinning, I was able to have compassion and empathy for the people that I was judging.  Such as the old man that was driving yesterday.  I realized that he is towards the end of his years on earth and was perhaps scared and terrified of being surrounded by all these vehicles in  multiple lanes going around a corner.  I thought that he's probably someone's grandfather who deserves some compassion.  In thinking about this gentleman in this manner, I felt myself fill with positive emotions and energy instead of the negative.  Amazing!!  So I then thought about the hockey player that delivered that terrible hit.  I tried to imagine what he was feeling as he saw his opponent motionless on the ice.  If it was me, I'd feel really bad.  Anxious.  Not anxious about what sort of discipline I'm going to get but anxious about whether this player on the ice is going to be permanently paralyzed.  Anxious about his future with his family.  Now my anger and judgemental emotions about the Tampa Bay Lightning player was switched to compassion.  So I recognize and will try to implement compassion and empathy instead of judgement and gossip.

So onto my Prayer Calendar.  Pray that my decisions will be guided by the spirit.  Hmmmm....that sounds easy but is it?  No.  I know that I will get busy in my day and forget.  So I'll try to remember to let my decisions (what I say, how I say it, how I act) be guided by the Holy Spirit that lives within me.  I know that I have spent more time in prayer this morning.  I was going to anyway because a young girl (19 yrs. old) that I know is facing brain surgery today to find out if a tumour in her brain is benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).  I'm praying really hard for her and have been for the last month.  Her family has had a rough number of years.  She lost her mother in September while she valiantly waited for a lung transplant that didn't happen.  So my prayers are for her family and I really am praying that this tumour is benign.  Life seems so unfair but prayer does help.  Letting my decisions be guided by the spirit....well this post is one of them.  I'm going to be late meeting a friend but I felt the urge that this post was more important.

"Let us not be in fear as we follow your voice".  It does fill me with anxiety to trust and follow God's voice and urgings of the Holy Spirit.  Our society does not understand and tends to lean towards judging people and stomping on them in an effort to climb the social, corporate and organizational ladders.  So my challenge today is to follow God's voice, not throw any figurative stones and pray that my decisions will be guided by the spirit.

Have a super day everyone.  I expect mine is going to be spiritually challenging every step of the way.  Let's hope I'm up to it.


  1. "How does recalling my own sinfulness help me relate to others?" I love that, Cathy; it's a great way to go through life, and a great way to keep compassion and empathy flowing through you. I try to practice this regularly, and more often than not, it works. You have a really good philosophy on life.

    1. Thank you, Martha. I have always tried but I am very much flawed and fail. But that's when I pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. Thank you again for your comment, Martha. It means a lot to know that this blog is appreciated.