LENTEN CONVERSION: FOR BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW

Lent is a profound time of introspection and conversion. Introspection, in that we must re-measure ourselves against the one command Christ left us: to love one another as he has loved us. Christ alone can make all things new in the heavens and on earth. Introspection without conversion leads to the danger of thinking that you don’t need Christ, only your opinion as to what is new or not. Read this passage from revelations three times. Once for meaning; once for linking this to how you love others as Christ loves us; and once in silence and silence without any agenda other than what the Holy Spirit tells you. Read slowly and prayerfully.

The New Heaven and the New Earth. 1a Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.* 2 I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,* coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. b 3 heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.c He will dwell with them, and they will be his people* and God himself will always be with them [as their God].* 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”d 5 The one who sat on the throne* said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”e 6 He said to me, “They are accomplished.* I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty, I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water.f 7The victor* will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son. g 8 But as for cowards,* the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”h

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/revelation/21
THE CHRIST PRINCIPLE

Everything that is has a beginning and an end. In my book, The Christ Principle, I set forth six paradigm shift that emanates from God automatically just because He is. I think of it as God’s DNA, because all reality moves from simplicity to complexity then back to simplicity again in, with, and through Christ. All reality moves from God who has no beginning and an end through matter, time, energy, life, the evolution of the species of humans, the revolution of the corruption of matter by the passion, death, and resurrection, sustained by the Holy Spirit in the Church Universal until all returns once again in the Christ Principle. It is a cosmic strategy that uses natural processes, human nature, and then divine nature to make all things new. For God, all of this is a moment in time (even this is not correct, but we humans need to have some way for our nature to begin to appreciate the love God has for us).

A LAY CISTERCIAN LOOKS AT MAKING ALL THINGS NEW

For much of my lifetime, my spirituality assumed that it took a lifetime to achieve, so I have time to fritter away my purpose on things that are not central to my existence. I have slowly begun to shift my thinking from a lifetime to just living each day for what it is as I seek God. I couldn’t be happier with that switch. Here some other ways that I have moved from my false self to my true self, ones that I must reaffirm each day with the Christ Principle.

Contemplative practices are praying each day as I can, not as I think I should. I am actually praying more because I understand that, although I don’t think of Jesus each moment, I do switch my thoughts to how much Christ loves all of us. I want to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5) at each opportunity. When you love someone genuinely, you want to be with them as much as possible. You don’t feel fulfilled unless they are somehow part of your daily routine. I remember Brother Michael O.C.S.O. teaching us about the quality we need to be contemplative. In addition to silence and solitude, he mentioned balance. Staying anchored to reality is important to my spiritual maturation. I am conscious that I can lose my faith without humility and obedience to God’s will for me this day.

  • I live in a condition of corruption called the World, the physical and mental universes. While what God made is good, our prototype progenitors, Original Sin, entered the World because of Adam and Eve. Christ’s coming has to do with making all creation in sync once again, as it was in the beginning, to become resonant instead of dissonant.
  • Baptism takes away the hold this corruption of Original Sin had on all humanity, but it does not take away our humanity. We still must contend with the effects of that sin, but with a caveat: Christ lifts us up to a higher level, a new level not possible in the World. This is the level of the Kingdom of Heaven. God wanted all humans to have the opportunity to live as adopted sons and daughters of the Father. Not everyone will accept this call or even understand it. Making all things new, especially during Lent’s profound conversion time, means re-convert myself to the basics of what Christ taught us: to love one another as He loved us. Lent is a time for me to take stock of my behavior and convert my way of acting to be more like Christ and less like me (conversio morae).
  • Making all things new produces joy. This is not the joy that the World knows when we use the word. The awareness that all words in the Kingdom of Heaven are god’s meaning, not ours. Christ came to translate what that means for each of us as we live out our seventy or eighty years. He wrote no book, but his followers, thankfully, wrote down his ideas. John 20:30-31
  • If I replace old ways of thinking based on what the world dictates is of value, I make all things new. This has nothing to do with me but what Christ does. All I have to do is place myself in the presence of the Holy Spirit and wait.
  • Lent may be an intensive time for penance as we prepare to receive the gift of the Resurrection once again. Based on Cistercian practices and charisma, a Lay Cistercian way of life means having a daily mindset of making all things new. As I now view my ongoing spirituality, it means I am a penitential person who, each day, just asks for God to be merciful to me, a sinner.

LENTEN PRACTICES

The New Testament gives us the blueprint or the WHY, WHAT, AND SO WHAT of our Faith. The next period in our collective journey is that of the Church Universal. It exists of all those who are gathered together to celebrate the death of the Lord until he comes again (Eucharistic Prayer). It is the HOW that fulfills the WHAT and WHY of Christ. At each age, and most especially because I live out my life in that space of sixty to seventy years, I am here to know, love, and serve God in this life and to be happy with God in the next. (Baltimore Catechism, Question 6)

Read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict each day.

Receive the Sacrament of Penance. If you have not been in the presence of Christ for confession during the past year (or longer). Go and make all things new. Better still, get into a penitential habit of receiving this Sacrament frequently. Where your heart is, there your treasure will be.

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