Brother Frank Sharma, ocd: the One whom they have pierced

Crowned With Thorns by Brother Frank Sharma, OCD

There was much darkness over the earth, lightning, thunder and rain. The fading sun had covered its face with a dark veil of clouds and Mother Earth had just calmed down after a violent mourning dance.

My eyes were captivated by a little gathering of people on a hilltop. Many were coming down, with weeping, sadness, happiness, and even with cruel faces;  they looked as if they had soaked themselves in blood.

Curiosity dragged my exhausted soul to the hilltop. With each step my faded vision became clearer, and I beheld a lifeless figure hanging on a tree between the heavens and the earth, arms stretched and nailed, and so were the feet. I drew closer to the tree with stumbling steps. His whole body was nothing but one wound with a face disfigured and fallen to the chest, with total poverty, total surrender and total giving.

Yet such majesty and splendor in that lifeless face made those who looked at it tremble! There was more longing than pain in that face; yes, it suffered and died of longing. His hair was wet and mixed with blood and mud, tangled on the long sharp thorns that adorned his head.

The descending sun decided to withdraw its dark veil, making me turn my face from its blinding light. My sight fell upon a woman, a woman of surpassing majesty, standing firm beneath the tree, strengthening a young man who seemed to strengthen her. Her face much brighter than the sun, and her eyes sparkled clearer than crystal.

Her gaze was firmly fixed upon the tree. Tears upon her cheeks glittered like diamonds struck by the bright rays of the sun. Suddenly something cold fell on my eyes, washing away the dust that faded my vision. Wiping it with my hand I saw blood mingled with water. I Looked up and saw a lance coming out of the heart of the lifeless One.

“My God, My Lord!” My whole being trembled, my legs lost their remaining strength, and for a moment my heart stopped. “My God, My Lord!” I had just looked at the One whom they had pierced!

I remained prostrated with my face buried in my hands when I felt strong hands lifting me up, but I had no courage to raise my eyes. The hands touched my face and turned it toward the young man at the side of the Woman beneath the Cross.

His beloved disciple, asked me, “Why did you take so long. Where were you all this time?” I remained speechless; my throat was blocked with sobs. He continued, “Do not worry child, everything will be alright. He was waiting for you, and knowing that you would be here, He left someone for you with me.” I looked at him perplexed. He grabbed my arm and led me to the Woman beneath the Cross.

She spoke to me saying, “Little one, look at Him; He is hanging there for you, look at Him.” I slowly raised my eyes to the Cross, resting my head upon her heart. She continued, “Look at that face, which Moses once longed to see but was refused. Now He longs to see yours.

Just before He offered His life, He asked for you; He thirsted for you. Look at those sacred feet, which walked miles and miles from one place to another hoping to meet you. See those hands that touched, healed and comforted countless souls. With each touch, His eyes were searching for you, my little one.”

I had nothing to say; not a word came from my mouth. With each word that came from the Mother, a deep sorrow penetrated my soul, yet I was comforted by the peace I gained from her heart.

She spoke again, breaking the minutes of silence. “At the garden of Gethsemane, when He was crushed in agony, He thought of you. At the pillar when He was scourged, at each blow on His cheek, He thought of you. When He fell under the weight of the Cross with no strength, He gained it back when He thought of you. Even when I met Him on the way of the Cross, when His eyes met mine, they searched for you. On the Cross, He waited for you for three hours. I saw and heard His cry of thirst for you. My little one, He knew that you would come, and that is why before commending His Spirit to His Father, He left me here for you.”

I no longer could hold my sorrow and I cried out, “Why, Oh why my Mother did He think of me? Why would He think of this poor wretch who was the cause of all His pain?” She spoke again, “O little one, the thought of you gave Him the strength all the way through, because His love for you surpassed all the  horrors of His Passion.”

I cried out saying, “How could He love me Mother, for I caused Him unutterable pain! In all His wounds I see my sins. In every scratch and tear in His body I see my impurity. My pride has crowned Him with thorns, my lack of love for Him and my neighbor has pierced His adorable Heart. Mother, I gave Him those ugly wounds, I killed your Son; I killed Life Itself!

Oh Mother why, why do you still love me? I pierced your heart with a sword. Why do you still love me?” At this, she held me even closer and with an ever gentle voice I heard her say “In every wound that seems ugly to you, I see the jewels of love, the treasury of His love exposed. My little one, love makes everything easier.”

I sobbed and said to her, “Mother I have failed, I have failed to love Him. I ran away from him, I refused to help Him carry the cross; I pushed Him away when He wanted to embrace me, in fear of His crown of thorns. Oh Mother forgive me and beg Him pardon for me, for to you He refuses nothing.”

At this she said, “My little one, He already has forgiven you. Look, He left His Heart open for you. Enter in at any moment you desire.”

I looked up, and the sun’s fading brightness still lit everything around. I looked upon the face of my Mother on whose heart I was resting. I said, “Mother I beg you, do not forget this ungrateful child, though I had forgotten Him.”

She looked into my eyes with a gaze that penetrated into my soul, and smiled, giving me an assurance of her prayers. Oh, such beauty, such love, such hope and joy in those tearful eyes! Would I not die a thousand deaths to gaze upon such splendor?

I heard the beloved disciple say, “Child, the sun has gone down, but it will rise again.” With those words, I rested my head again upon her  Immaculate Heart. We, the disciple and I, remained there under the mantel of Our Mother, with our eyes fixed upon the One Whom they have pierced.

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Lent – the second mansion: spiritual battle


Giacinto_Gimignani_, An Angel and Devil Fighting for the Soul (wiki commons)

St. Teresa’s only chapter on the Second Mansion, according to the translation of Allison Peers, is titled by one word – WAR. This a reason why you can see so many people who are “born again” go backwards. After their high or honeymoon or their jailhouse conversion, they return to the spirit of the world and to their old ways, their old lifestyles

This is not necessarily because of insincerity; it’s because the battle is strong at this stage. A lot comes against people, and the longer we’re away from the Lord, the fiercer the battle when we try to come back and stay with the Lord. Get ready for the battle. Get ready to throw down.

The longer we’re away, the bigger the battles. Part of this is simply battling against old weeds in our lives. We have to destroy the weed while it’s still a seed. The first moment a weed comes up in your thoughts, eradicate it, renounce it in Jesus’ name. Do not entertain it. Because the more that weed grows, the more it takes root in the soul and the harder it is to get rid of.

Destroy the weed while it is still a seed. We battle old weeds and thorns that will try to return to the surface. We battle to overcome badly acquired inclinations and habits of disorder, or negative forms of reacting to stress and crisis, or when things don’t go our way, or when we’re not acknowledged. We feel abandoned.

The lower faculties of the soul, which is called the psyche – the emotions, thoughts, the imagination – start to be attracted again to the things left behind for God. Now that I’m going through this battle, and I’m not feeling closeness to God, and the comfort of what it means to be faithful, and to belong to God, I start to get weak and my flesh starts to dominate; I have these inclinations to take refuge in the things of the world.

When experiencing spiritual consolation, the soul doesn’t have any attraction to the things of the world. It’s rubbish, easy to give up, no problem – as long as God is offering something better.

St. John of the Cross speaks of the metaphor of God putting spice on the mother’s breast of a breast-feeding child, in order to wean the child off of the nursing mother. God puts a spice, as it were, on the breast to make the child detach itself from these immediate sense consolations that keep us in an infant stage, and to prepare us to be able to eat the meat, and not rely on baby food. He hides His face

At this time, the old self tries to regain lost ground. The battle can be fierce, very fierce. The ascetical challenge here, in terms of how we respond, is mortification, self-denial of the appetites.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Lent – the second mansion: aridity & false humility

Photo credit: Lorelei Low, ocds

In the Second Mansion, after the high honeymoon, perhaps similar to that of the three apostles of the Transfiguration, the soul is now confronted with aridity, which means dryness and trials. The soul can easily become discouraged. For example, now, one can become far more aware of oneself and one’s own issues than ever before because Jesus says to the soul, ‘Now that we have a personal relationship and I have proven to you how good my love is, how good I am, how worthy of trust I am, now that you’re following me let’s take some time to clean things up.’

We go through this desert of aridity and all that we can seem to be aware of is that we’re no longer receiving lights about coming to know God and His greatness in different ways. We are no longer relishing the different ways in which we learn about the things of God and the new experience of joy that brings into our life.

Now that it’s dry, I’m starting to see myself in a new light, and I recognize the areas for improvement and need for growth and healing that I wasn’t aware of before. I didn’t even know I had these issues. I didn’t even know I had these needs that needed to be attended to.

Our Holy Father, Saint John of the Cross, provides the classic example of this experience as the light shining through the window. If the light isn’t shining through the window, the spots are hardly visible. But once the light shines through, you can see all the scratches, the spots, the smudges, and the nose marks from kids putting their face to it. All of that is visible now.

When a person experiences these things and has become far more aware of these issues in his life, he wonders ‘What’s happening to me? Is this normal? Where do I go from here?

Discouragement can easily settle in and part of this is spiritual pride. Because the soul has experienced consolations, new pastures and prosperity in the Holy Spirit, the soul can become pompous. And when the soul sees its faults and defect in a clearer light than before, that same pride becomes scandalized at itself and very discouraged. Often times, more often than not, discouragement comes from spiritual pride – because we relied on ourselves and now we’re surprised that we couldn’t do it on our own.

Also, at this time, the devil tempts the soul to return to his former ways – go backwards. The evil one says, ‘You don’t have to be this. You don’t have to be a fanatic after all. Just be a decent Christian like everybody else. Live a normal life. Just go to church on Sunday. You don’t have to be going everyday, you don’t have to be going to adoration. Just be a normal Catholic.’

The devil tempts the soul to go backwards, to give up, and it uses thoughts of false humility to do so. False humility is prevalent in the Second Mansion, and it works against. Saint Teresa talks a lot about false humility.

The enemy can even be as audacious and cruel as to say as the Accuser, ‘You can’t do it! You’ll never make it! You’ll never be free! You really belong to me! This whole religious thing is just a phase! Give it up.’ That’s very real.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Lent – the second mansion: spiritual pride

In the Second Mansion, a peace of soul, the correction of our faults on a more refined level, is sought after. We become more aware of our faults on a different level. We become more conscientious about the need to detach ourselves from things that are holding us back from growing spiritually. We begin to really consider organizing a certain kind of plan, if you will, for our spiritual life, wanting to put our spiritual life in order and really examining our conscience.

Before, we were just going through the motions and not really being aware even, or taking time to examine our conscience. Now, these actions are starting to be kicked into gear.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, in the second stage of this active life of friendship, when the spiritual life and a personal relationship with Jesus is developing, the soul in its prosperity, can tend to easily become pompous, spiritually pompous.

Spiritual pride is dominant here, as our Holy Father Saint John of the Cross talks about in The Ascent of Mount Carmel. As result of the new lush experience of the spiritual life, we can easily look down on others who don’t know what we’ve come to know. The soul tends to attribute a great deal to itself and it presumes that it’s we ourselves who have gained this victory, as if we’ve earned it, deserved it, or as if we’re more special than others.

In this second stage, the soul believes it is very far advanced and it desires to make converts of everybody, so that everyone can be where the soul believes it’s at. This is a normal thing. Whenever we experience something wonderful, we want others to share it.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (Wiki Commons)

Whenever we, as Plato said in that beautiful analogy of the cave, have come out of the darkness of the cave that we thought was the whole reality, once we’ve come to see the lights outside of the cave- or in postmodern terms, once we come out of the matrix – we want to show other people. We want to lead other people, we want to share it, and a person can tend to become almost pushy in wanting to share our faith and wanting to make converts of everybody.

The classic example of this is for Christmas or Easter, we give people their ‘salvation kit,’ putting in a scapular, a rosary, and a prayer book; all these things are good and it’s typical of a new convert. This is a normal stage of transition and growth.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

Father Robert, OCD: Lent – first and second mansions

Photo Credit: Lorelei Low, ocds

There are some basic steppingstones for each of the three stages of the prayer life and I will relate just some of the basic points. It’s not an exhaustive representation of the first three Mansions by any means, but it’s a start.

The first stage, or the First Mansion is a state of friendship with God – being in “good terms” with God, but not on the level of deep intimacy. A person in this stage does not yet have a personal relationship with Jesus, but is just living a godly life as best as possible.

That’s a big difference. One is trying to be as observant of one’s religion and faith as possible, live a good godly decent life, but doesn’t have a deep, personal relationship with God yet in the first stage. A person in the first stage usually makes a conscientious effort to avoid mortal sin, and is no longer captive to the world of the flesh and the devil, to the same extent as those outside the castle.

At least now, some kind of prayer life is in place. The common form of prayer in the first stages is vocal prayer: recited prayers, communal prayer, the rosary. For example, praying before meals and after meals, the rosary on occasions, going to Mass on Sunday, the Guardian Angel prayer before going to bed. Just simple things like this – the first stage.

There are no manifestations of the actions of God in this soul, nothing extraordinary or supernatural happening. The primary gift of the Spirit in this stage, in terms of what the Scholastics called the gifts of moral perfection, is Fear of the Lord, which is a good thing because this is the first stage of wisdom.

You don’t want to offend God. As we say in the Act of Contrition ‘My God I’m sorry for my sins in choosing to sin, and failing to do good.’ Fear of the Lord is a good start.

The second stage or Second Mansion is a deeper, more active life of friendship with God. A spiritual life now is starting to begin, and a personal relationship with Jesus is becoming more meaningful and important to me, personally in a deeper level.

At this stage, people say things like, ‘I was Catholic all my life, but I didn’t know it could be this good. I didn’t know adoration. I didn’t know about all these great treasures of the Church. I didn’t know any of that. I have been a Catholic going to church all my life and for the first time, I am discovering Catholicism, I am discovering Jesus.

This is the second stage. Searching for a deeper meaning in life, and all the strength of heart and will is now directed to growing spiritually. Whereas before, I was just into shopping, fashion, sports, television, entertainment and vacations. I was trying to be as good as possible, but ultimately, my passions were about those things.

But now, for the first time, I am serious about wanting to grow spiritually, and it’s actually important to me. I’m making it a priority. In this new birth in grace, one begins to become a new creation. A new self begins to emerge, the true self. The soul applies itself to a deeper prayer than before. Now, one has become exposed, interested, and begun to practice meditation, what Saint Teresa refers to us Mental Prayer or Recollection.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD


Teresa Linda, ocds: they are Christ crucified

NOTE:  Here is the text from a brief conference I was asked to give in my children’s school for a Lenten Retreat focusing on Who is my neighbor? Cultivating a heart of mercy.

One of the goals of our school’s Mission Statement is “A social awareness that impels to action.” Or as I like to translate it – a faith-life that impels to action.

Impel. This is exactly what happened  while Mark and I lived in West Philadelphia. As UPenn graduates, we saw privilege, surrounded at all sides by poverty, but once we walked among the people who lived that poverty, we couldn’t turn our backs on them. We were impelled to act.

As newly weds and new college grads, Mark and I owned the only home we could afford, a beautiful three-story house in a “condemned neighborhood” as one African-American woman said to the realtor when we were trying to sell it, before our move to California.

During the eighties and nineties, drugs poured into urban cities throughout the United States. Nobody really knew it back then, but the United States government was arming the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and profits somehow got in the hands of powerful drug cartels in Colombia. The result was the crack epidemic and we lived in a house in West Philadelphia during its height.

On the news, we saw our neighborhood being portrayed as a place of death, crime, violence – perpetrated predominantly by African-Americans. The war on drugs had started and a whole generation of young black men were criminalized and jailed.

Yes, there were drug dealers on every street corner and we feared for our lives because of the random violence, but we saw more than that. As West Philly community members who lived in the ‘hood’ we saw beautiful people who valued real friendships. We saw a community trying to hold itself together despite all odds and loving one another authentically.

I often chatted on the front porches with grandmothers who were waiting for their sons to get out of jail and others who watched their children succumb to crack addiction; I sat on rowhome steps early in the morning with a prostitute who spoke with a German accent, after she had just finished her evening shift.

I would also talk with schizophrenics who lived in a nearby group home, for as long as I could follow the string of their confused thoughts. And I spent many evenings trying to convince thirteen-year-old girls from the projects that love wasn’t about handing our bodies over to any boy with empty words.

In this invisible war zone in plain site, people tried to help one another any way we could. I was once pushed out of three feet of snow by a man with scars that ran down his cheek and who once led the Junior Black Mafia. A drug dealer protected Mark from teens who weren’t part of the neighborhood, and who seemed ready to shoot him after he tried to stop them from tagging a wall.

And when the main water pipe from the third floor in our house broke, ruining our  first floor walls and  ceilings while Mark was away on a trip abroad, it was a young man who had just been released from jail, who spent three days replacing the plaster. He wouldn’t take any more than $50 from me.

A personal encounter with the suffering of Christ in the suffering of people changes a person, and once we came face to face with this wholly different narrative, we couldn’t turn our backs.

We lived in West Philadelphia for fifteen years and in that time until now, I’ve willfully chosen to work with urban communities in my teaching. It’s a job that has terrible pay, earns me absolutely no social capital, and requires many weekend hours of grading.

Because of my teaching schedule, I can’t be involved very much in the school community, where meetings often happen early in the morning, when I am teaching. But I know that with my parenting support at home, that my now four children will be fine.

So yes, there have been many sacrifices. Yet I do it because I want to give young people who have so much stacked against them a chance of pulling their lives together through an education that can lead to a financially stable career.

As  parents, we give our children every single kind of advantage we are able to give . We give them financial support, emotional support, tutoring instructors, summer camps and international travel.

At-risk students who live in poor communities are just as capable and deserving of those opportunities as our own children. The only difference is that they do not have the kinds of support we are able to provide.

A poem I wrote a few years ago captures why I am impelled to work with marginalized communities:


Crucified by human weakness, yet they still appear through the classroom doorway each day.

Young people who care for dying family members,
Squeezing studies between a forty-hour work week
And visits to the hospital,
Barely adults themselves, they are thrust forcefully into adulthood

And overnight, after a parent has suddenly died or disappeared,
Must become from brother to father; daughter to mother.

The virility of youth, stolen,
Without warning
By brain disease, cancer, blindness.
A stray bullet. Intentional gunfire. Knife wounds.

Hopes shattered,
By an American Dream that must be delayed, seemingly into eternity,
For families who trekked hundreds of miles on foot,
To a land that held twisted, broken promises.

The poor, the misunderstood, the invisible.
The scapegoats of the failures of society.

The eyes of these beautiful souls
Look up at me from their seats,
And I am deeply humbled.

They… they are Christ crucified.
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.


Deacon Charles Seagren, ocds: Lent – Here I am

ISAIAH 58: 2-6

2They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, Like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the judgment of their God; They ask of me just judgments, they desire to draw near to God.

3“Why do we fast, but you do not see it? afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers.

4See, you fast only to quarrel and fight and to strike with a wicked fist! Do not fast as you do today to make your voice heard on high!

5Is this the manner of fasting I would choose, a day to afflict oneself? To bow one’s head like a reed, and lie upon sackcloth and ashes? Is this what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

6Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke?

Jesus Heals a Mute Posssesed Man by James Tissot

Will we fast in heaven?
It’d be rude wouldn’t it
to fast there at the heavenly wedding feast,
in the presence of Love Himself?

But when He’s taken away
then we fast.
Not that He’s ever absent —
but we can be absent from Him
through sin or forgetfulness or distraction.

That’s when He calls,
Where are you?
and like Adam and Eve
we hide in the Garden
or like Peter, James and John
we fall asleep.

That’s why we fast:
To stand before God
just as we are,
trusting in His love,
in all our hunger and nakedness and need.
To wake up and see
as God sees,
with eyes of mercy.

That’s when we understand His call
to love in deed and in truth,
to love Christ concretely
in the prisoner, the oppressed,
the hungry, the homeless, the stranger,
even the person we like the least.

And in that love we hear His voice –
not Isaiah’s or Jeremiah’s or Samuel’s or any other prophet’s –
but God Himself says,
Here I am.

Upcoming Lenten Retreats and more…

Sisters Aurelia, Theofila, Jacinta, and Salverina

MARCH 24-25,  2018: “The Shining Radiance of Prayer” is a two-day silent retreat for men and women. Saint Teresa of Avila said, “For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God, a personal conversation with someone who loves us.”

8:45 am, Saturday March 24 – 1:00 pm Sunday March 25. Silence will be maintained until lunch time, Sunday.

PRESENTERS: The Daughters of Carmel, who are rooted in the Carmelite Spirituality and are also open to the call of the Holy Spirit through the Charismatic Renewal.

The program will include: conferences on prayer, vocal prayer (rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet),  mental and contemplative prayer (the Jesus Prayer, nature meditation, adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, Scripture meditation), a prayer service and Palm Sunday Mass, and spiritual

More details will be given during Saturday check-in registration.

WHERE:  Vallombrosa Center
250 Oak Grove Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3218

COST: $155 (includes food and lodging)

 Here’s the flyer.



Live Free! An UNBOUND Seminar – 5 Keys to Freedom in Christ

WHEN: Saturday, March 17, 8:45am-5:00 pm

WHERE: Saint Dominic’s Catholic Church, 2390 Bush Street, San Francisco




Deacon Charles Seagren, ocds: Lent – Joseph’s robe

Joseph Sold into Egypt. Genesis 37:1-4

1 Jacob settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan.

2This is the story of the family of Jacob. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he was tending the flocks with his brothers; he was an assistant to the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah, and Joseph brought their father bad reports about them.

3 Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long ornamented tunic.

4When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his brothers, they hated him so much that they could not say a kind word to him.  Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers, they hated him even more.

The Selling of Joseph
Rabbi Reuven Mann

Jacob gave Joseph
a long ornamented robe.
It’s a symbol of enthronement.
Joseph is the well-beloved son,
favorite of his father.

Later he’s stripped of that robe.
His brothers soak it in blood
to convince their father he’s dead.
Then they sell him into slavery:
why not make a profit?
He’s finished,
he won’t come back to bother us.

Jesus too is dressed in a robe,
a purple robe meaning kingship.
He’s crowned with thorns
and beaten,
and the bloody robe sticks to His skin.
Then He’s stripped of it
and led to the cross.

Over and over we reject the messengers
and finally the Son Himself.

But the light shines in darkness
and can’t be conquered.
No matter what
the Dream is true,
the Promise kept.

Joseph forgave his brothers.
and many were saved from famine.
Jesus forgives us from the cross
and all the world is saved.

God works marvels
using even our sins
to work for the good.

In Mass
by His providence
we gather in Holy Communion.

The famine is over.

Deacon Charles Seagren, OCDS: Lent – Jonah

Luke 11: 29-32: The Demand for a Sign

29While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.

30Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

31 At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here.

32 At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.

Pieter Lastman, Jonah and the Whale

The word of God came to Jonah a second time.

Well, we know what happened the first time:
when the call came, Jonah hung up.
He ran as far as he could in the opposite direction,
thrown into the sea, swallowed by a great fish,
spewed out on a beach.
He did everything he could to escape God’s word.

But God gives him – and us – a second chance.
Maybe that’s what the sign of Jonah is:
the miracle of another chance.

That’s what Lent is too:
another chance to remember
in a special way
what’s always true:
the need to repent,
to draw closer to God and our neighbor,
the constant need for conversion of heart.

Like the king of Nineveh
we lay aside our robe
of pride and power
and kneel before the true King
in contrition,
in prayer and fasting and almsgiving.

Today we’re in the presence of Someone
greater than Jonah, greater than Solomon.
greater than anything we can imagine.
Bend your knee,
open your heart
and follow where He leads.