27 March, 2020

God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.

~ Bede Griffiths ~

Wisdom 2:1,12-22; Psalm 34; John 7:1-2,10,25-30

When life gets us down, when we fail dismally or when the truth seems to bring us animosity and hardship, we need to focus our attention on Jesus and be inspired by the way he handles such situations. Jesus teaches us that we should never give up when, deep down, we know that God is asking something of us.

 

The book of Wisdom tells us something we already know: the virtuous one will be killed unjustly. Those seeking the downfall of the virtuous make many false accusations. They are deceitful! Those who are plotting against the virtuous one know that he is right, and they begin to feel guilty. They are afraid of acknowledging him and heeding his call to change. They compound their problems by seeking to destroy the one that offers salvation. They have been misled through the unwillingness to listen and clearly allowed their egos to control them and make bad decisions. Now they stand the chance of misleading others too.

 

At times we allow our egos to get the better of us. Because of this we make bad decisions and have, at times, influenced or even pressured others to follow our lead. Maybe we too have been misled. On the other hand we have also met virtuous people. There are moments in our lives when we stand before a person and deep down inside we know that we stand before virtue. This can inspire us to be better; it can also lead us to feel guilty that we have not always sought to be virtuous.

 

The important thing for us is that we recognise that God is calling us to more. God is a God of the future, not the past. What we choose to do at the very moment we are confronted by virtue and recognise our shortcomings is what counts: repent, turn around and seek to live a life of virtue? Or do we ignore the virtuous and undermine them and perhaps even make up a conspiracy list against them? Both options are put before us today and throughout Lent. We have to choose.

 

Lord Jesus,

 

Help me to recognise the virtue in others amidst the confusion and conspiracy of my heart.

 

Strengthen me so that I can persevere in the mission you give me.

 

Help me to live a virtuous life even when this brings hardships.

 

Amen.

 

Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

This reflection has been adapted from Have Mercy, O Lord! Daily Reflections for Lent by Grant Tungay SJ, Russell Pollitt SJ, Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, Puleng Matsaneng, Anthony Egan SJ and Frances Correia, & published by the Jesuit Institute South Africa in 2016.

Reflection prepared by

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
See more from Matthew Charlesworth SJ

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