Dear Abbey Members and Friends:
Fr. Don Talafous' meditation for Ash Wednesday is below. In today's meditation, he returns to the theme of our 'crosses' by inviting us to think of whether 'adding' some Lenten discipline to already overloaded lives is more appropriate than looking at 'how' we approach the crosses existing in our lives now -- be more generous with our time for co-workers and family, be more patient with the person who always seems to get under our skin, etc. I was listening to this week's edition of Speaking of Faith that deals with depression. One of the people interviewed spoke of a person who helped him the most. That person just sat with him and offered his presence, not suggestions for how to pull out of his depression. I find the meditation below most challenging and a way to truly grow spiritually. Living our lives more generously certainly has the ring of our Savior calling.
Shalom and many blessings, George
"If you wish to be my disciple," Jesus says, "you must take up your cross each day, and follow in my steps" (Luke 9:23). Can't we read in that expression 'your cross' an indication that there is already a cross of some type in our lives? It might be lying neglected under some papers. The point is that it's there, in my life. I don't have to go looking for it or figure out how to make myself one. What Jesus and Lent urge is that we should take it up more generously each day, with good spirit, turn it to good, rather than looking for some other cross which can never have the custom built character of this one, the cross given us by nature or life. Some of the stuff we hear about Lent suggests that we look for what I would call luxury crosses or substitute crosses. Instead of handling well the cross that is right before us, we decide on something more satisfying to our egos, like an hour on our knees each day or skipping meals. These crosses can be about as significant as the ones that rock stars hang around the necks or from their ears. Francois Mauriac has said that the only genuine crosses are those we have not chosen ourselves. Aren't these what Jesus calls 'our' crosses? What are they? For example: the stress that comes with our work; a difficult person we must work with; some nagging physical problem which has no simple solution; putting up more patiently with some grouch or, better yet, not being one ourselves; facing that morning task with more alertness. Let us take up our cross daily; if we haven't lifted it lately, it's right there. All we need is a closer look. Fr. Don Talafous, SJA 2/25/09