Longing for a willing spirit

“Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.”  Psalm 51:17

With this Responsorial Psalm for Ash Wednesday and the First Sunday of Lent we begin the Lenten season.  It is also our response to the reading from the Book of Ezekiel at the Easter Vigil where the prophet asks God to remove our stony hearts and give us natural hearts.  May this verse guide both our prayer and our practice during this holy season!

We are reminded in the Book of Genesis (2:7), read on the First Sunday of Lent, that the breath of life we have has come directly from God.  In Lent we seek to receive afresh the life and the love and the joy of the Lord and live it to the full.

One way to renew ourselves during this year of Blessed Chaminade is to gather at the foot of the cross with Mary and the Beloved Disciple (John 19:25-27) to contemplate the mystery of salvation, the mystery of God’s love, given to us in Jesus. We can join with Marianists throughout the world (and here on campus) to recall this sacred moment at 3 o’clock every day.

We have been blessed and gifted.  So what is our response?

For many of us our response is characterized by ‘giving up’ something – candy, a certain food, some favorite pastime.  In fact, we do need to turn away from certain things.  But we turn away, give them up, in order to receive the blessings and the gifts God has prepared for us (I Corinthians 2:9).  In the Gospel for Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6) it says WHEN you fast, …. WHEN you pray, …. WHEN you give alms….  All these penitential practices take time, intention and forethought on our part.  That means we will not have time for some of the activities and things that currently fill our day.  What will we clear from our agenda so that the life Christ won for us on the cross can flow in us and through us more freely?

  • Will we fast from critical comments and discussions, on the web an in person – offering challenging situations to the grace of the Lord, and offering words of encouragement to others?
  • Will we pray for solutions to the issues of our day – once we have learned more about the suffering of our sisters and brothers here in San Antonio and throughout the world?
  • Will we give time, talent, energy and resources to help ease at least one person’s experience of suffering this Lent?

We ‘give up’ only in order to receive more fully what God has prepared for us.  We long for the joy and the willing spirit that will make us the people we were created to be.

Know of our prayers for a very blessed, fruitful and spirit-renewing Lent for all of us in our St. Mary’s Community.

The Pastoral Team
University Ministry


About bhalderman

A Marianist brother who works as the University Minister for Social Justice and as adjunct faculty in the department of Sociology at St. Mary's University. Brian holds a Masters in Social Work and a Bachelors of Arts in Religious Studies.

Posted on February 22, 2011, in Lenten Reflections. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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