Thought For The Week
'We have probably overdone the emphasis on practice in our religion. In our gospels Jesus was constantly telling the Pharisees and Scribes that they worried too much about regulations and practices. Instead he stressed: Look into your hearts.' ~Paul Andrews
Historically the emphasis has always been on the need to go to Church or go to Mass. It was a case of clocking up points every time you went and if you didn't go you fell down the list fast in terms of favour with God. It was an unhealthy emphasis. Think of the guilt that built up around this way of thinking. It certainly was not the way Jesus would want it.
Even today many grandparents and parents worry unnecessarily about their children not attending Church. If you ask young people do they pray, (different to asking do they go to church) and the answer is always positive. Of course we need religion, church liturgies and a sense of community but we also need to nurture the spiritual yearnings of many who are searching. The spirit of God is to be found in so many places.
Our journey through Lent is an opportunity to 'Look into our hearts'. We live in a world of externals, instant communication, endless news stories, opinions and open communication. The pace of all this external stuff can be relentless with little connection to anything. It leaves little time for personal reflection, for spiritual nourishment and for taking quiet time. There is not much time for looking within or 'looking into our hearts'. This is a loss and from what I can see the loss is getting bigger and deeper.
Our Lenten journey is such an opportune time to look within, to make time for personal reflection, to pause and to be quiet. We will all do this differently but whatever way works for us is always the best way. We have got to mind ourselves. We need to nourish our spirit/soul and to know that in this sometimes chaotic world, we are loved, cherished and special. Lent gives us six weeks to change the emphasis or at least try it out. I hope you will get the chance during the coming weeks.