July 18, 2015 | Reflections From Sr Mary

Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.

With these words we were signed with a cross of ashes to mark the beginning of the holy season of Lent. Over the next 6 weeks, we will set out on the journey to Jerusalem, with Jesus, a journey from death to new life.

ashwednesday prayer

In one sense, the escalation of time in the liturgical calendar is disconcerting. It seems no time at all since we were beginning Advent and reflecting on all those beautiful prophetic readings about the coming of the Lord. Throughout Advent the persistent and strong cry of the season was COME…….Come Lord Jesus.

Now….. just a few months later we are reflecting on the last days of the Lord and we hear different prophetic voices calling for repentance and return. During my lectio this week, I was really struck by the repetition of the same word from Advent – the word COME:
Come back to me with all your heart proclaimed the prophet Joel in the First Reading on Ash Wednesday.

During Advent we are the ones crying out:
COME….Come Lord Jesus!
but during Lent it is the Lord crying out to us:
COME…..Come back to me with all your heart.

This got me thinking about the word, “Come”. It’s one of those words that can easily pass us by as it’s common and used a lot, and not particularly attractive or striking in many ways. I suppose you could call it a functional word! But on closer examination, it’s such a rich word, full of invitation, longing, hope, anticipation……and it’s social! “Are you coming?”
"When you come…”
“Please come.”
“Come on.”
All these expressions and more, speak of togetherness, of contact, of connection.

Robert Frost wrote a beautiful poem about coming called The Pasture. It’s a very simple poem of only two verses but it is full of beauty and the hope of someone coming with him… It reads:

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(and wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long. – You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
that's standing by the mother. It's so young,
it totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long. – You come too.

“You come too.” Perhaps this is the essence of Lent. “You come too.”

The Lord is reaching out to us on his journey to Jerusalem, on the journeys to our own Jerusalems, and saying to us: “Come on….you come too, let’s do this together.” No matter the past, no matter where you are in your life or your spiritual journey, no matter what troubles or frightens you, I am here: illridewithyou. I will be here
for you. It’s never too late.
Come back to me with all your heart…
come on….
You come too”!

I invite you over the coming days as we all begin this journey through Lent together to reflect on the invitation of the Lord to simply “COME”…
come back,
come with,
come together,
come too….
In whichever way it works for you, the Lord is saying to you, to me, to us, just COME.

As a conclusion to what I shared with you this evening, I would like to invite you to take a small notebook from the front stall and write down the word that speaks to you each day throughout Lent.

As we know, taking a word a day is a very ancient monastic practice. So often in the writings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, we hear the disciple asking for a word. So, during Lent this year, let us reclaim this practice together. I know that many of you already do that but I am asking all of us to be faithful to it during these days of
our Lenten journey.

Let’s be alert to a word each day, write it down, carry it with us and meditate upon it throughout the day. It might even become the topic for our conversations together. In that way, we can invite one another to share our words and our journey…..as the poet said, “you come too”?