10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
By Melanie Edwards (No. 80)
'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention; otherwise you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win human admiration. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
'And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in, and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
'When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face, 18 so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.(Matthew 6:1-6)
|But when you pray, |
go to your private room,
shut yourself in,
and so pray to your Father
who is in that secret place,(Matthew 6:1-6)
At the end of 2014, Pope Francis met with Vatican employees. He asked them to do 10 things, which many are now calling his suggestions for New Years’ Resolutions. The first of which was to “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.” As the season of Lent begins, we have a particular opportunity to respond to this by considering the call in Matthew’s Gospel to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Yet as we decide to give things up, or take things on, the attitude of our heart matters. These are not supposed to be mere mechanical practices but ways of encountering God more deeply. They are not just a list of boxes to tick, but a way of truly journeying with the Lord. They are not about being noticed by others and seen as being ‘holy’, but about growing in relationship with our heavenly Father.
Lent then becomes a time where we can actively and consciously take care of our spiritual lives in concrete ways so that our backbone can be strengthened.
What might the Lord be inviting you to do during Lent to strengthen your backbone?
Links to Pope’s speech to Vatican employees:
List as New Years Resolutions:https://cnsblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pope-francis-suggested-new-years-resolutions/
5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.
Next Reflection: Malcolm Davies, Friday 20th February, 2015