Lent Week Two
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-12
We ought to bear one another’s burdens, to help one another and be helped by others who are stronger than ourselves, to think of everything and do everything that can help ourselves and others, for we are members one of another as the Apostle says (see Romans 12:5). If we are one body, each is a member of the other. If one member suffers, all the others suffer with it (see 1 Corinthians 12:26). What does our community life mean to you? Do you not reckon we are one body, and all members of one another?
Those in charge are the head; those who supervise and correct are the eyes; those entrusted with instructions are the mouth; those who listen and obey are the ears; those who do the work are the hands; those who run messages, who have outside ministries, are the feet. Are you the head? Fulfill your charge. Are you the eyes? Be in touch and consider. Are you the mouth? Speak and give help. Are you the ear? Listen. Are you the hand? Work. Are you the foot? Do your errands. Let each of us give assistance to the body according to our ability, and take care to help one another. Whether it is a matter of teaching and putting the word of God into the heart of a brother or sister, or consoling them in time of trouble or of giving a hand with work and helping them. In a word, each one according to their means should take care to be at one with everyone else, for the more one is united to their neighbour the more they are united with God.
And now I give you an example from the Fathers. Suppose we were to take a compass and insert the point and draw the outline of a circle. The centre point is the same distance from any point on the circumference. Now concentrate your minds on what is to be said! Let us suppose that this circle is the world and that God himself is the centre; the straight lines drawn from the circumference to the centre are the lives of people. To the degree that the saints enter into the things of the spirit, they desire to come near to God; and in proportion to their progress in the things of the spirit, they do in fact come close to God and their neighbour. The closer they are to God the closer they become to one another; and the closer they are to one another, the closer they become to God.
Now consider in the same context the question of separation; for when they stand away from God and turn to external things, it is clear that the more they recede and become distant from God, the more they become distant from one another. This is the very nature of love. The more we are turned away from and do not love God, the greater the distance that separates us from our neighbour. If we were to love God more, we should be closer to God, and through love of him we should be more united in love to our neighbour; and the more we are united to our neighbour the more we are united to God. May God make us worthy to listen to what is fitting for us and do it. For in the measure that we pay attention and take care to carry out what we hear, God will always enlighten us and make us understand his will.
In conversation with God, name some relationship in your own life that needs healing at this time. Turn the matter over to God by praying the prayer:
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Do you need to do something about this relationship?