“Let all my life tell of who you are!” These are beautiful lyrics from a song called For the One, that are sung incredibly once again by the talented Jenn Johnson. The lyrics speak so profoundly and yet so simply to the heart making it a beautiful Lenten prayer that we can offer up to the Father. Reflecting on these words, I could only think of Jesus and how He came to teach us about the Father and His great love for us.
I pondered, too, on the following conversation between Philip and Jesus in John’s Gospel, Chapter 14: 8-11:
Philip said, “Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.” “Have I been with you all this time, Philip,” said Jesus to him, “and you still do not know me? To have seen me is to have seen the Father, so how can you say, ‘Let us see the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself; it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work. You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”
When the apostles looked into the eyes of Jesus, clearly they must have been seeing the “Father,” and did not realize it. Jesus states, “It is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.” How many times are we approached by an absolute stranger at a moment that we most need it and we walk away consoled? Did we look deeply into their eyes and see the “Father” or “Jesus” within or did we simply turn that around, and as Jenn sings, “Oh that when they look in my eyes, they would see you!” She continues on with “Even in just a smile they would feel the Father’s love.” Bearing that thought in mind, I would like to continue bringing you back to a couple of months ago to shed light on what Jenn is singing to us in “For the One.”
I find myself finally ready to share with you the story of “Lentils, Love and the Lord,” that I had written four days after this past Christmas. I have postponed this story at least twice and realizing I would be posting the week after Ash Wednesday, I questioned myself thinking, “How would this fit in?” Well once again, Jesus is in control here, not me! It fits in perfectly and is in tune with the theme of this blog.
You see, I found myself very sick with flu-like symptoms four days after Christmas. After a doctor’s visit and prescriptions filled, I settled on the couch to ride the illness out. I didn’t realize I was going to be in for a bumpy ride because it lasted two weeks and zapped all my energy. Seeing that I wasn’t making progress, I called the doctor again asking him if he could prescribe something different this time . . . something that worked! He complied with my wishes but then I found myself unable to get off the couch to get to the pharmacy. It was a blustery, freezing cold day here and as I watched the trees swaying back and forth, I thought to myself, “There is no way I am going to leave this house as sick as I am and get to the drugstore.”
For a quick moment, I started to feel sorry for myself and then my cell phone rang. A cheery voice was on the other end. “Hi Anita!” It was my neighbor Christine calling to say hello. I sounded so terrible that her immediate response was “What can I do for you?” She gladly went to the pharmacy for me to get my prescription and also met me at my front door with a container of hot, homemade lentil soup with dinner rolls! I was so very grateful, you cannot imagine! That gratefulness prompted me to look up the meaning of the name “Christine.” It means, “follower of Christ.” Wow! Christine was certainly living up to that divine name!
I am writing this post on the eve of Ash Wednesday and also of St. Valentine’s Day. I do not believe it is a coincidence this year that we begin our Lenten journey with these two dates coinciding. “Help me to love with open arms like You do,” another verse from For the One. Christine served up “Love” for me that cold December night where I found myself not able to do for myself. Jesus had another plan for me that evening and He sent Christine because she loved with “open arms like Him.”
We all may not have been blessed with the name of “Christine,” but surely we all are “followers of Christ.” And, if we are followers, then Jesus is within us and if He is within, so is His (and our) Father. Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel, “It is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.”
On the eve of Ash Wednesday, as I ponder the above words, I find myself being enthusiastic for my Lenten journey. With the Father and Jesus living within me and the Holy Spirit guiding me, I pray that those I meet on my path this Lent and all the rest of my days, will look into my eyes and see “You.” Jesus’ life did tell of “who the Father was” but Philip didn’t get it and maybe the other apostles didn’t either. We have the privilege “to get it,” and to work it into our daily routines to help make this Lent one like we have never experienced before.
Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. wrote a book entitled A Time of Renewal Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season. In the forward of the book, Father John Riley from the Augustine Institute writes the following of Mother Mary’s attitude towards Lent:
She encourages us to welcome Lent with open arms and a personal invitation to enter into joy:
We are called to a glorious festival of love – to be spiritually dizzied with the fact that this is how much God loved us. Surely we shall all look at the crucifix with a new vision, a deepened understanding that He really did this, He loved us this much.
Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
©2018 Anita Guariglia
Image by Anita Guariglia
Scripture taken from The Jerusalem Bible
“A Time of Renewal” – Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season -Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.