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That we may discover new areas or old resistances in our lives in need of God’s renewing touch. That we may let ourselves be healed and grow to greater wholeness for the glory of God and the sake of our world’s salvation.
 
Light of Truth, Beacon of Hope, Fire of Love,
in your light we see light.
Without you, we grope in darkness and shadows.
Be with us, Radiant God.
Give us new eyes,
that we may see the sufferings of others
and our tendency to be comfortable with injustice.
Give us new eyes,
that we may glimpse our own self-righteousness
and the self-interest that strangles compassion.
Give us new eyes,
that we may recognize you
in the face of the stranger,
the outcast, the haughty,
and serve you in serving them.
Give us new eyes,
that we may look on the world
that God so loves
with forgiveness, patience, and hope.
Give us your eyes,
O Light of Truth,
Beacon of Hope,
Fire of Love,
Christ, our Savior and Brother. Amen.
 

 
 
Excerpted from
Lenten Longings – Year A: Let Yourself Be…, available from RENEW International

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Blind_Man“They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them, ‘He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.’ So some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a sinful man do such signs?’ And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, ‘What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’
They answered and said to him, ‘You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?’ Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered and said, ‘Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him” (John 13-17, 34-38).
 
Jesus was a busy person. Crowds thronged around him, and people constantly demanded his attention. And yet standing in the midst of a big crowd around the Pool of Siloam, Jesus gave his undivided attention to one blind man. This man was important enough for Jesus to give his time and complete attention to helping him. Jesus not only cured him but also gave him new hope and a new purpose in life. Jesus teaches us that each person has dignity and must be respected no matter what his or her condition. Measuring or judging others by achievements, good looks, success stories, wealth, talents—whatever—is not fitting for children of God. In doing that, we too are blind, without real sight. We need insight to see the worth and dignity of every human being. Without insight, we stay enclosed in our comfort zones with those whose presence puts us at ease. Jesus challenges us to move out of our safe harbor, to be “uncomfortable,” and include the excluded.
 
The blind man in the story went through a process to come to an understanding of who Jesus was. First, he saw Jesus as a man who did something wonderful for him. Then, he called Jesus a “prophet”—someone called by God to carry a divine message and who works for God’s vision on earth. Finally, the man came to confess that Jesus was the Son of God. He realized that Jesus was not someone who could be explained in human terms. In his closeness to God, his unfaltering love and care for others, Jesus lived more faithfully our human nature than any other human being ever has. He remains not only our greatest model but our greatest support as we strive to live as “more than human.”
 
- How can I overcome my own “blindness” to see the worth of others?
 
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International

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Gift us with greater freedom and simplicity in coming to know ourselves as beloved children, loved unconditionally by the God from whom we have nothing to hide.
 
Fountain of Life, Flood of Forgiveness,
Overflowing Cup of Mercy,
we drink from you, O Holy One.
You make our dry hearts moist again,
bring us back to life, and stand us up in grace
Confidently and joyfully, we look forward to the day
when we will become all that God has intended for us.
To this end, the Holy Spirit has flooded our hearts in love.
If only we knew the gift we have been given.
O Spirit of Wisdom, teach us how to unfold.
You, who know us better than we know ourselves,
disclose us to ourselves.
Safely sheltered in you,
may we discover your merciful gaze
loving us in all those places
where we find it difficult to love ourselves.
O tender God, send us out to love others
from that place of mercy where you bathe us all.
We praise you and thank you for the gifts we can scarcely
understand and only barely imagine,
through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
 

 
 
Excerpted from
Lenten Longings – Year A: Let Yourself Be…, available from RENEW International

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“The Church is essentially human and divine,
visible but endowed with invisible realities…”
Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), 2

 
The Catholic Church has traditionally relied upon symbols and sensual experience in order to convey the truths of its greatest mysteries including Christ’s Incarnation, his Crucifixion and Resurrection, the resurrection of the faithful at the end of time, the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine, the power of prayer, and the sacredness of all of creation.
 
The Lenten season and its liturgies provide us with ordinary elements and materials of life that point to deeper religious meanings.
 
Water—On the Third Sunday of Lent we hear the story of the Samaritan woman who is ultimately thirsting for new life but asks Jesus merely for a drink. He invites her to a new understanding of living water that goes beyond the literal, beyond what she can see and touch. We are reminded of the embryonic water of our mother’s womb, the baptismal water that made each of us a child of God and disciple of Christ, and the water in the font where we dip our hand as we enter the church and sign ourselves with the cross. Increase our thirst for you, O God.
 
Light and Darkness—On the Fourth Sunday of Lent we hear of the man born blind. There are many allusions to seeing and blindness in this reading, to choosing light or living in the dark. For many of us, judging by appearances is the primary obstacle to seeing the light. Sometimes clinging to our own partial piece of the truth and refusing to listen to God’s voice in another person highlights our blindness in everyday experiences. We need desperately to be healed of the blindness of our resistance, the prejudices that exclude others from our circles, our inability to see as God sees. Help us to see as you see, O God.
 
Bindings—The Fifth Sunday of Lent we meet Lazarus bound and already buried. In response to the request of his sisters, Jesus calls Lazarus forth from the grave to new life. For Christians, the cycle of dying and rising characterizes all of life. Each night we close our eyes and die to the day; each morning we rise to a new day of possibilities. Each spring we bury seeds in the ground only to see them burst forth as flowers and fruits, vegetables and grain. The risen life does not begin simply after we die. Eternal life breaks into time. There is so much more to life than we can see; there is so much more to love than we can hold; there is so much more to our intimate belonging to each other than we can contain. Symbols can help. When the eternity of God invades our mortal time-bound bodies, loosens our bindings, and sets us free, we begin to live as resurrected people. O God, set us free.
 
Sister Honora is the Assistant Director at RENEW and a Dominican Sister of Amityville, NY.

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On the 2nd Sunday in Lent, the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Sr. Terry received an email from an old friend: “The morning meditation in The Living Gospel suggested that I remember a transformative experience and share it. Okay, here it is.”
 
HoverflyI think it was the bug that did it. It flew like a hummingbird in short, straight lines with sudden, complete stops—this last one right in front of my face. It just hung there, as if suspended on a wire. Its wings were a blur as it searched me for whatever it is bugs search for. Then, apparently disappointed, it vanished.
 
I had not noticed any bugs on my first trip to Israel. That time I had come laden with thirty-five years of hopes and expectations and preconceived notions of The Holy Land: not Israel, not even Jerusalem, just “The Holy Land.” I had no room for bugs. I had come to find Jesus. I had come to renew my faith. Now don’t get me wrong. I was in no way disappointed with my first experience. In fact, at many sites I was profoundly moved. I was not disappointed, and yet…
 
Back to the bug…
 
I was playing guitar at a mass on the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. We had walked through the trees from the church to be right next to the water and out of sight of the tour buses and the other pilgrims. There was a pause after Communion to give us a time for silent meditation. And then, there it was, hanging in the air, shining golden in the sunlight. I wondered if Jesus had seen a bug like this. Of course he had. He had experienced everything that was present to me right now. That was my moment. I was totally captivated by the thought of this connection and, in that instant, time stopped. Everything else faded away. Two thousand years disappeared. Then, very slowly, I became aware—first of the sounds: the rustling whisper of the wind blowing through the trees, the gentle rhythmic rippling of the water against the rocky shore, the soft bright chatter of the birds in the trees. My eyes were the next to be opened. A tall, white bird walked slowly through the gently waving reeds by the shore. The glass clear water deepening to blue as the small cove opened out into the Sea of Galilee. The mottled browns and greens on the opposite shore, rose to the grey of the rocky Golan Heights with the sea blue sky and the soft, white clouds floating above. Warm, dry air with a faintly cool breeze on my face completed the moment. It was beautiful. Not because Jesus had been here. Not because a tour book had called it a “holy place.” No wonder Jesus had come here to rest with his friends. And though there certainly had been changes, the spirit of the place was the same for us as it had been for him two thousand years ago. In fully experiencing the moment, I had found Jesus.
 
I spend much of my life finding only what I expect to find: in people, in places, and even in myself. With God’s grace, may we all let go of our limits and find what God has hidden right in front of our eyes.
 
Jaime Rickert is a pastoral associate at St. Ann’s Church, Ossining, N.Y. Along with RENEW’s Sr. Terry Rickard and Sr. Maureen Colleary, Jaime was also a member of the Archdiocese of New York Parish Mission Team.

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