March 1, 2017
By Barbara Foreman
La Grange, IL
Jl 2:12-18; Ps 51:3-6, 12-14, 17;
2 Cor 5:20-6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
“…give alms…pray…fast.” Mt 6:2-16
On first look, the sequence seems a little off. The Gospel writer has arranged Jesus’ teachings around what many Christians have adopted as Lenten practices in this way: almsgiving, praying, fasting. Now, of course, we’re to live the three practices throughout the season in commingled ways rather than consecutively, but my experience is that fasting and prayer are the first focuses on arising the first day of Lent; almsgiving comes a bit later in the afternoon. (And for me, truth be told, almsgiving—with its requisite kindness, generosity, and gentleness—is often the first practice to go in the years when my resolutions and determination fail.)
But what if I recalibrate a bit and let almsgiving, “righteous deeds,” be my first intention for this season? If I understand the teaching from Jesus, righteous doing can lead me to Righteous Being. In other words, the good works that are the result of my left and right hands eventually transmute to Goodness itself that flows forth from my “secret” (inner) union with Ultimate Righteousness. The doing is transcended by Being, and that’s when I’m no longer performing deeds but am, instead, pouring out Love.
Indwelling Grace, I long to be a presence
of love in the world. Lead me through the
journey from outer doing to inner Being.
Rejoice and participate in Endless Source—in
self-emptying Love that never diminishes
because it’s repaid by deepened and expanded
Love that’s constantly being birthed in the cosmos.
Check back for the next reflection.Courtesy of Ministry of the Arts