There was a university professor who went searching for the meaning of life. After several years and many miles, he came to the hut of a particularly holy hermit and asked to be enlightened. The holy man invited his visitor into his humble dwelling and began to serve him tea. He filled the pilgrim’s cup and then kept on pouring so that the teas was soon dripping onto the floor. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “Stop! It is full. No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” said the hermit, “you are full of your own opinions, preconceptions, and ideas. How can I teach you unless you first empty your cup?”
This week we look forward to the beginning of Lent. The phrase “look forward to” may not exactly express what most of us feel about Lent…but it should! Lent gives us an opportunity to act on the hermit’s evaluation of the professor….Like the professor, we too are filled to the brim with “opinions, preconceptions, and ideas.” We need to empty ourselves of all that stands in the way of hearing what our God has to teach us during this time of Lent. Instead of trying to figure out what to “give up” during Lent, how about considering where we can “give in” by working at eliminating our personal biases, admitting that we don’t have all the answers, acknowledging that only God is perfect. Emptying ourselves, humbling ourselves before God, praying for guidance, refraining from judging others—all of these actions can lead us to greater inner peace. If who I am and what I think seem to be more important than who God is, my priorities are skewed. When God looks at me, who does He see? During Lent, each of us is being called to greater holiness. I can take the first step by acknowledging how, in word and action, I can be “full of myself.” Then I can lay myself at the foot of the cross and beg to be emptied of everything that makes me less than who God calls me to be. Finally, I can ask for the grace of receptivity…as I read His Word in Scripture, sit in quiet prayer, and respond to those He sends to me.
– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND