During Lent we are called to follow Jesus into the desert for forty days. By practices of prayer and penance we seek to “put our house in order”–to sweep the house of our souls–to throw away “junk” which may have just accumulated over time.
We want to make our souls places which have room for the Holy Spirit. What things in our daily lives might push Him out…or make Him welcome? Two recent texts speak eloquently to the active work we must take on in preparing a place for God to dwell in us.
“The Holy Spirit also speaks to us today through the words of Saint Paul: “You are God’s temple … God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are” (1 Cor 3:16-17). In this temple, which we are, an existential liturgy is being celebrated: that of goodness, forgiveness, service; in a word, the liturgy of love. This temple of ours is defiled if we neglect our duties towards our neighbor. Whenever the least of our brothers and sisters finds a place in our hearts, it is God himself who finds a place there. When that brother or sister is shut out, it is God himself who is not being welcomed. A heart without love is like a deconsecrated church, a building withdrawn from God’s service and given over to another use.”
–Pope Francis, February 23, 2014 Homily in the Holy Mass with the New Cardinals
“Practice prayer from the beginning. Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility. Make it radiant with the light of justice. Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds. Adorn it with the walls and stones of faith and generosity. Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer. In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord. You will be able to receive him as in a splendid palace, and through his grace you will already possess him, his image enthroned in the temple of your spirit.”
–St. John Chrysostom, Homily 6 De precatione: PG 64, 462-466; Second Reading of the Office of Readings for Friday after Ash Wednesday
Blessings on a fruitful Lenten journey for all.