Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Graces of Lent

How often I have discovered that the good reason I have given, even to myself, for what I do, is not the real reason that I am doing it for. What Jesus describes for us in the Gospel exposes just this split within our hearts. The good reason for which the hypocrite does what he does is so that God will be pleased with his faithfulness and charity. The real reason is so that people will think him to be faithful and charitable. The problem is that we only have on heart, and in the end it can be attached only to one thing, either the good reason, God, or the real reason, people's approval. Once we have attached ourselves, we already have our reward.

Sanctity happens when our good reason and our real reason are the same reason. It happens when the split is eliminated and we have embraced our truest longings as the reason for our lives. Jesus tells us to pray and give where others cannot see us praying and giving so that we not lose track of the entreaty coming from our heart, and thus lose track also of the answer, Jesus himself.

The more our sacrifices are secret, the more there must emerge our secret heartfelt reason for them.

And our Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Father Vincent Nagle, F.S.C.,B. - Special assistant to the Patriarch of Jerusalem and administrator at St. Justin's Parish Church in Nablus, Palestine.

-March 2011 Issue of Magnificat.

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