Lord Take Me Where You Want Me to Go,
Let Me Meet Whom You Want Me to Meet.
Tell Me What You Want Me to Say,
And Keep Me Out of Your Way.
(Fr Mychal Judge OFM)
Fr Mychal Judge was killed on 9/11 when the World Trade Centre was bombed. He was Chaplain to the New York Fire Department and he was the first certified fatality of that sad event in 2001. There were many others, some of whom were never found and among them were two of my past pupils from Whitstable, Andrew and Tim Gilbert RIP. My own nephew, Brian, had an appointment that morning at the World Trade Centre. He had stayed in a hotel overnight but accidentally slept in and woke up to noise and confusion. I will never forget that evening with Brian’s parents struggling to find out if he was alive or dead as all communication was cut off temporarily.
We are not to know the mind of God. Happenings in life challenge us to reflect, to pray and to give thanks and say sorry. I don’t know where I found Fr. Judge’s prayer, but it speaks to me at the beginning of Lent, especially the words “Tell Me What You Want Me to Say and Keep Me Out of Your Way”.
It is not an exaggeration to say that we have been through an extraordinary Lent for the past year with penitential restrictions imposed on us by Government decisions in an attempt to curb the Virus. Lent is often referred to as THE DESERT and that is probably a scriptural connection with reference to the time Jesus spent in THE DESERT and the struggles He encountered there.
Each one of us will have our own DESERT experience and meet our own demons in different ways during the Pandemic. It might be difficult to pull ourselves out of the current mind set , but the word Lent itself comes from the Angelo-Saxon meaning “springtime” specifically for us Christians , it has come to mean the springtime of our souls. The word also meant LENTE… slow down, go slowly, take time to breathe in and out.
When we attempt to make even the slightest change in our behaviour or thinking, we will meet obstacles, which are like the wild beasts in the desert. We must not give up because where there is life there is hope. Jesus did not give up . He was led by the power of the Holy Spirit and He trusted in God His father.
We are NEVER on our own. God is right there beside us and His loving energy surrounds us all day long …. All we have to do is open the door ever so slightly and let the light in. Remember Leonard Cohen’s song
“There Is A Crack in Everything
That’s How the Light Gets In”
Lent is not all about us and what we can and cannot do. The Angels looked after Jesus and they will look after us. If Lent puts us among the wild beasts of our fears, worries, frail bodies, our weaknesses and our best made plans which seem to get battered we might give up.
Small steps enable us to make slight changes in our attitudes and don’t forget God is always a step ahead of us. A good practise might be to get a sheet of paper and divide it in two and write down all the thing for which you would like to say THANKS BE TO GOD. On the other half write down all the things you might like to improve in your daily life.
You will surprise yourself and you will notice that when things were most difficult God sent help much stronger and much deeper than anything you could have mustered up yourself.
“Sit with God as You Would Sit at the Ocean.
You Bring Nothing to The Ocean, Yet It Changes You”
Have a wonderful Lent and know that you are not forgotten in prayer by us, the Sisters of Mercy, here in Bermondsey. Spring is in the air and there is hope that we will meet here again before the end of the year to pray, to share, to chat and to drink a cup of tea. Catherine McAuley recommended THE OPEN DOOR and THE COMFORTABLE CUP OF TEA to all her Sisters.