Friday, February 27, 2009

Lenten Journal: Premeditated Mercy

I have selected this book, by Joseph Nassal, to be my reading this Lent. I seem to have a hard time reading these days (except for the internet and blogs). Here is the nugget (slightly adapted) I am chewing on from my first few pages:

She who blames others for her problems hasn't begun her education. She who blames herself for her problems has begun her education. She who blames no one for her problems has finished her education.

This is startling to me. I think the therapeutic model has so inhabited me I have assumed the way to health was to chart as complete a map as possible of the effects different people have had on me... my mother and father, my brother, my friends, my ex-husband... and to lay my neuroses at their feet. This book has been on my shelf a long time, quietly biding its time, waiting for me to get serious about the work of reconciliation. Now a confluence of events... the unfolding of my own life and that of my congregation... leads me to believe this might be the book for me this lent.

Though I believe the author is coming from a Roman Catholic background (simpatico with the way in which I was raised) I detect already just a hint of Buddhist detachment coming through. I'll try to share my reflections here as Lent progresses.

Ash Wednesday was lovely. Beyond lovely. We sang music of Taize, and when I preached the meditation I've posted here, at the point at which I described the prayer practice, I invited people to try it if they liked. As soon as I said "Close your eyes," there was a startling, palpable change in the room. The atmosphere shifted. Prayer happened. A holy moment.

Have I mentioned how very, very much I love my work?


August said...

That makes sense to me - that quote. Is the author saying it's a process (ie: blaming others, then blaming yourself, and finally blaming no one)? Or is he suggesting that the enlightened person should be able to skip ahead to just letting it all go...

Magdalene6127 said...

August, I think he is saying it's a journey through those stages... I'll let you know if it seems like something else!

Sophia said...

Oh, even better--you actually tried it! Go you.

It gives me confidence to do the same thing at the beginning of the Ignatian retreat, too, and guidance in how best to do it. So thank you.