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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Entering Lent: Come With Me, Will You?

"Freedom isn't free they say." Men throughout our history have paid the ultimate price for it. It's easy to forget that as we drive down safe streets in cushy SUVs to shop in comfortable stores where plenty abounds. People have lain bleeding on battlefields, dying. Mothers have lost sons. The reward of that sacrifice is safety, freedom -- the protection gained from another whom we do not see. The outcome of that sacrifice is the ability to forget these things. But blood has flowed into battlefield soil and tears have soaked mothers' pillows. Freedom isn't free.

By Andou (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Grace isn't free. It is freely given to those who have accepted it, but it didn't come free. A price was paid. Blood soaked soil at the foot of a cross and a Mother's tears soaked her veil so that we'd be able to embrace safety and freedom and the hope of Heaven. And we drive down safe streets in cushy SUVs to shop in comfortable stores for Easter candy, and we tend to forget. We tend to embrace the gifts without counting the cost. We tend to forget that He said it: "Take up your cross and follow me." "If you love Me you will keep My commandments." "...Go and sin no more."

Journeys to less fortunate countries can shake fortunate Americans out of our complacency. They can remind us that we live well, while some fight to live. They can drive home the reality of our freedom and privilege.  They can help us to remember that freedom isn't free. Somehow we go abroad to serve, but end up being served. Somehow a missionary trip becomes a retreat, and spiritual growth explodes.

Come with me, citizens of the Church universal, on a spiritual journey this Lent, won't you? Walk with me as I enter into the desert with Christ and face my own complacency? Stand by me as I see my own weakness and lack of self mastery? Support me as I am convicted of my own failures? Gaze with me upon blood soaked soil and a Mother's tear-soaked veil? Confront with me the reality that freedom wasn't free? Encourage me as I strive to grow in faith and discipleship? Pray that I will "Go and sin no more?" I will do these things for you.

Tomorrow, we receive ashes as a symbol of our entry into a season of penitence, formation, and growth. May we walk together and enter into a Holy Lent.

Pax Christi dear ones,

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