Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lenten Transformation

                “Dear Lord, my God, as Lent begins, I ask for the grace and courage to die to myself so that I may live in You. I breathe in deeply and exhale slowly to ready myself for this journey. I know it won’t be easy and will probably be painful, but I also know it is what I must do in order to grow and to approach You. Take my hand and walk with me. Show me what needs to be done.
                “First, I must recognize that I, like all of us, am a fallen sinner. I am no different than any of Your children. We all share the same fallen nature. I have the same carnal desires, selfish motives, self-love, vanity, laziness and weakness that every child of Adam and Eve has. Lord, help me to be brave enough and honest enough to see myself as I truly am. Remove any mask or wall I have and let me look at myself as if I am standing in a mirror with You beside me. Grant me Your vision for that moment so I may see myself as You do. Look deep in my soul. What is beautiful? What is repulsive? What do we keep and what do we change?
                “Now, as I see my true self, fill me with pure humility. Help me recognize that I am imperfect externally and internally without You. Physically, as my body succumbs to the forces of mortality and time, show me how to rely more on You and on those loved ones around me. Help me recognize that I cannot do things all on my own, especially as I age. Remove my pride that wants to say, “Look how strong I am.” Instead, raise the voice of humility to say, “Look how strong we are together.” Spiritually, show me how I hover weakly without You. Show me how I am unable to climb to any higher spiritual levels on my own. All my knowledge and effort amounts to just time spent until I can give it to You, let You assimilate and transform that effort into the spiritual progress You want for me.
“May I embrace my weaknesses, physical and spiritual, so that I will recognize that with You, I am complete; without You, I am weak and broken. Empty me of the pride that fills the space in my soul reserved for You and Your humility; the humility that You exhibit to reach down from heaven and enter into the heart of one of Your creations. Help me to allow and embrace Your assistance and the assistance of others in my endeavors, both physical and spiritual, thus taking Your love and opening a vertical channel from You to me and from me to You, as well as opening a horizontal channel of love from me to my neighbors and from my neighbors to me. Then the love flows up and down and side to side, like the cross You lovingly embraced for Your Father and for all of us.
                “Dear Lord, my God, in humility I ask that You fill my weak, broken self with Your deep vast love. May it pour over me and through me, permeating the depths of my soul, healing and strengthening all that it touches. May I shine like the sun shimmering on the ocean after a dark storm, transformed and brilliant with Your light. May I be like the caterpillar who first inches along the ground and then transforms into a butterfly, now able fly up towards You.  Oh Lord, let me die to myself like the caterpillar so that You can live within me like the butterfly. Together, let us live as one.”

May I kneel with You in the Garden of Gethsemane?

                “Dear Lord, my God, my heavenly King, I humbly ask to hear Your voice. Dear Mother Mary, prepare me to kneel before the Lord, our Father. Jesus, show me the way. Come Holy Spirit, come; blow through my heart and soul, open the doors and windows and let the love of God shine in and throughout my very being. Open my inner senses to receive all You wish to send me.
                “Lord, take me to the Garden of Gethsemane the night You prayed so fervently. I feel the cold air. I smell the leaves of the olive trees. The flowers are just beginning to bloom, releasing their sweet fragrance in the air. Lord, I see You kneeling, face turned toward the sky, lit by the moonlight. Your tears have stained Your face and sparkle in the dim light. Your forehead has large droplets of blood that have oozed out in Your distress. My heart is breaking for You. You are alone in that moment. Your beloved disciples have fallen asleep a little way from You. It is late and has been a long day for them celebrating the Passover, yet You remain awake, praying to Your beloved Father about the events about to take place. Your agony, Your distress, Your inner conflict is like a chaotic static cloud. My heart cries out to You as You ask the Father if it is possible to let the cup pass from You, yet not as You will, but as He wills (Mt 26:39). I want to cry out to Your Father, “Please let it pass!” but of course, I am only reacting to the moment and not to the whole plan of salvation. I am like Peter who speaks at the instant from my heart. You slowly turn Your eyes to me and say, “Get behind me Satan, for you do not do the will of the Father.”
                “Oh Lord, the sting. Do not let me cling to my personal desires; they block the will of the Father. Oh Lord, forgive me, dust of the earth and handiwork of Your creation, for clinging to the pieces of the puzzle on earth that must continually move into the places You have designed. How often do I grasp at the hem of Your robe as You walk through this world? Instead, free me of my attachments and let me sweep the path for You. Use me as an instrument for the orchestration of Your great masterpiece instead of stumbling on me as an obstacle in Your way.
                “Oh Lord, You have given me much and I know You expect much of my heart in return. My heart swells with intense love for You as You turn Your gaze back to the sky in the garden. I see the angel Your Father has sent You to comfort You this night. Oh Jesus, You have show me the way to be a true disciple. I love and support You. Let me be like the angel who gently holds You, Your heads tipped toward each other. Oh thank you dear angel, you are there for comfort, not to change the plan or to talk about the horror and anxiety; instead, you are there to console, to support, to embrace, to love, to assure that the Father’s will be done and that love will triumph.
“Oh Lord, let me live my life like the angel, supporting You, loving You, helping You accomplish the Father’s will. May Your glory be seen. May Your love fill all the souls of everyone everywhere. Oh dear Lord, may I kneel with You in the Garden of Gethsemane?”