Thursday Lent, Week 5

John Main said that the great challenge for the modern Christian is to find a new language to understand and communicate the faith that unites us to Christ. This is a more multi-level challenge than may at first appear.

First, it requires that we immerse our traditional thinking and vocabulary in deep, pure silence. When we meditate we are not thinking or talking to God but being in God. This being is silent. Fully understood it is silence – the total attention and communion that is God’s love.

Secondly. It requires that we risk our familiar beliefs and language. Disowning or rejecting is not the same as laying them to one side as we enter in the silence. But at first this can seem as if we are rejecting or even betraying our deepest belief system. We have to discover, in our own experience, what meditation teaches all who practice it, believers and non believers alike, that faith is deeper than belief.

Thirdly we have to return from the silence and engage with others of good will for the common good of the world. We are not trying to convert them or impress them. We are just being what faith and silence are making us and we can therefore accept and respect others as they are. In this way we see Christ in new and wonderful ways.

To meet non-believers, an agnostic scientist for example, in this silence is enlightening for us and for them. It is a desert, a place of radical simplicity and truth, of self-knowledge where we cannot hide behind any religious or psychological mask. It is a Lenten meeting where we accept the need for self-restraint. But the desert bursts into flower and the Lent becomes joyful whenever two honest people meet, wherever and however they are brought together.

Laurence Freeman OSB

Listen to the Lent Daily Reflections Podcast HERE