Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Lent. What does it mean anyway? What are we suppose to be doing? Well, it's the time before Easter where I should be making space in my life for Jesus. It's a time of preparation, it's a time to repent, to change the direction in which I am looking for happiness. The call to repentance is the invitation to take stock of our emotional programs for happiness and to change them. They have been instinctual, they need to change to spiritual. 

You know the liturgy for Lent begins with the temptation of Christ in the desert. The three instinctual needs that we all experience in growing up; security, esteem and power. Security in changing stones to bread, esteem in making a name for himself by jumping off a building, and power in having absolute power over the nations of the world. We are tempted to find easy, fast answers. Here's a story I found to help.

A master had lost his keys to his house and was looking for it on the lawn outside, running his fingers through each blade of grass. His disciples came along and asked the master what had happened. "I have lost the key to my house", he said. "Can we help you find it?" they asked. "I'd be delighted!" he replied. With that the disciples got down on their hands and knees beside him and started running their fingers through the grass too. After some time, one of them asked, "Master, have you any idea where you might have lost the key?" He answered, "Yes, of course. I lost it in the house." The disciples looked at one another in astonishment. "Then why are we looking for it out here?" they exclaimed. The master replied, "Because there is more light here!"

This is the human condition. We have all lost the key to happiness and are looking for it outside ourselves where it cannot possibly be found. We search outside because it is easier or more pleasant; there's more light out there. There is also more company. "If we look for happiness in emotional programs that promise happiness through symbols of security/survival, affection/esteem, or power/control, we can find plenty of help, because everyone else is trying to do the same thing." (Thomas Keating) When we look for the key where it can be found, we may find ourselves along, abandoned by friends and relatives who feel threatened by our search. 

Lent is about looking inside.  

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