July 18, 2015 | Reflections From Sr Mary

We began our Lenten journey by remembering the ancient monastic practice for asking for a word. Since then, I am sure many of you have been delighted and inspired by the many "words" which you all have shared on our wall in the cloister.

During this week, as I reflected on last Sunday's Gospel of the Transfiguration, I found myself wondering what "words" Jesus heard during his "Lent", his sojourn in the wilderness? The first word that came to me was "beloved"….
"My son, the beloved" were the words from the cloud spoken during the Transfiguration, but those words had also been heard before!

Just prior to his 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus was baptized by John in the River Jordan. When Jesus comes up from the waters of this baptism, Beloved is the word that greets him. "You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on  you". Then when he turns his face toward the wilderness surely Beloved in the word that he remembers and that goes with him.

As one writer expressed it:

"For Forty days and forty nights he remembers the word:    Beloved.
In the blazing sun, in the deep darkness and in the solitude:    Beloved.
In the hunger and the thirst:    Beloved.
In the temptations:    Beloved.

Whatever else has passed in these forty days and forty nights, he leaves the wilderness with the same gift he went into the wilderness armed with. He knows who he is and what he is here to do: To BE the Beloved, and to bring this love into the world."

Ref J Richardson

belovedSt Benedict tells us, in chapter 49 On The Observance of Lent, to ask for a blessing upon our Lenten efforts. He knew that Lent would be a time of trial and testing and that we needed a "word" or a "blessing" to carry with us. When Jesus entered the wilderness, he did not go without a blessing from His Father and it came to him in the word Beloved. How could he have survived it otherwise?

So as we continue to journey through our own Lenten landscape, we, too, should remember to keep seeking a word or a blessing. Perhaps tonight, we could ponder over the word, Beloved. Let it sound in our ears, our minds and our hearts day and night.

Matthew Fox reminded us many years ago that each of us is an "original blessing"… our friend Macrina Weiderkehr speaks of us being made "not just of dust but also stardust."

At our own baptism, we were blessed and annointed forever to be children of God, created in God's image, Beloved in God's eyes.

It might take time for Beloved to settle into our hearts and our minds — forty days, at least — but that is what this season is for — to listen and to allow God's Word to come upon us and remain with us.

So let us not remain in the wilderness of Lent without a blessing and let us not leave without hearing who we are: Beloved! For, like Jesus, in knowing who we are, we then surely know what we are here to do: to BE the Beloved, and to bring this love into the world."

On the eve of International Women's Day, I conclude with a special invitation to all of us here who have been so Beloved to have entered the human condition as a woman!

As we celebrate this special day, I invite us all to reflect on the special gifts we have been given, to embrace our belovedness, and to remember our sisters all over the world who struggle for
and especially all those who hare fighting to protect and save their children.

Woman or man… we are all Beloved.