As I sit in the relative comfort of our abode at Yuma, Arizona listening to the desert winds howling outside our door, I think of the coming of Lent and the call of the Holy Spirit to each of us to spend some time this Lent with Jesus. It is a good time for us to meditate on our lives in an effort to insure that we travel the path that has been laid out for us.
We might want to engage in an exercise that would have us take an “Album” of our life to Jesus in Meditation. We may have been struck by a gospel story such as the encounter of the woman at the well with Jesus [John: 4:5-30,] and wondered how a similar encounter with Jesus might unravel for us as we engaged Jesus in dialogue.
The “method of meditation” involves:
- The slow reading of the scriptural passage aloud or in a whisper;
- The noting and savoring of the words that especially catch your attention;
- The repeating again and again of the words that have caught your attention;
- The re-reading of the passage again as you would a letter from a friend.
The words that struck me from the meeting of Jesus with the Woman at the Well were the words “If you only knew what God is offering”.
Put yourself in a comfortable environment [for me it is my home office where I often pray] and invite Jesus over perhaps for coffee.
In preparation for your scriptural encounter with Jesus, put together an “Album”. The Album should notionally record scenes from your life beginning with your childhood and moving forward through elementary and high school and beyond. You would focus on those people who have influenced your life journey both for the good and otherwise. How have your important relationships with your spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, friends, mentors and others added texture and meaning to your life? How have you reached out to others in an effort to positively engage those others? Focus particularly on the love that you have encountered along the way. Notice the patterns that emerge both positive and negative. Reflect on your faith life and how that has come to be what it is today.
As I review my Album, I savor the happy times and acknowledge the not too happy times and the people who added content and texture to my life. I focus on my life as a series of events in motion. There have been so many influences over time, each influence leaving its mark and assisting me in navigating my way forward creating a kaleidoscope of patterns that have given shape to my life. I categorize these patterns under sub-headings that denote life experiences such as times of security, times of insecurity, times of reassurance, times of growing relationships, times of wonder, times of frustration, times of feelings of failure, times of strengthening faith and times of diminishing faith.
As I ruminate on all of this, I recall the words of Jesus “If you only knew what God is offering”. As I look up, I notice that Jesus is with me and He holds out His hand to receive my Album. I explain to Him, as I turn over the Album, how I see the patterns and what those patterns are suggesting about the decisions I am now facing. I watch Him as, with love, he turns the pages of my Album looking at each page.
I listen to Jesus as He reassures me of His love and how He has been present and active in all the events of my life even those events that contain the darkness of pain or of sin, which are marked by His mercy and forgiveness.
He says gently and lovingly to me that my faith has opened my ears to receive all that God offers but reminds me that a vibrant faith requires the discipline of good listening. He confirms that all the events of my life have prepared me for the “call” that is particularly my call.
I accept back my Album from Jesus.
Having prayed through this meditation and having spent time in intimacy with Jesus, I record my insights, reflections and feelings in my journal.