Walking through Lent with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
We welcome you to join us this Lent in spiritual reflections with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Check the blog each Sunday during Lent for short reflections created by Postulant Emily TeKolste for each day of the coming week. Below are reflections for the first week of Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday. We invite you to spend a few minutes each day reflecting on the scripture verses and the words of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. May your Lent be a time of deepening your spirituality and growing closer to God. And may your walk be a little more meaningful by sharing it with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.
Ash Wednesday, March 1
“Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to your God. For gracious and merciful is God, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” – Joel 2:13
“Repent of your sins and failings; take resolutions to do better and, after that, be quiet. The more we stir up the dung-hill the more it exhales bad odors.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
As we undertake this season of repentance, we listen to the prophets, our own consciences, and those around us. We must also accept the forgiveness of ourselves and others in order to move forward and do good in our own little corners of the world.
• What must I repent of at this point in my life in order to live more closely to the person God created me to be?
• How do I forgive myself when I make mistakes?
Thursday, March 2
“Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving God and walking in God’s ways, and keeping God’s statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and Yahweh your God will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.” – Deuteronomy 30: 15-16
“Yet it was not without significance that they called themselves Sisters of Providence; for on this rude beginning have been erected the achievements of their first century, Providence surely disposing and providing, since of merely natural aids there was always a dearth.” – from the introduction to Mother Theodore Guerin: Journals and Letters
• Do I obey God’s promptings in my heart and through the words of Scripture and others even when it doesn’t seem to make sense?
• What step can I take today or this week to embrace uncertainty and reliance on Providence?
Friday, March 3
“Thus says Yahweh your God: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; tell my people their wickedness and the house of Jacob their sins. … This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.” – Isaiah 58:1, 6-7
“This spectacle [the selling of slaves] oppressed my heart. Lo! I said to myself, these Americans, so proud of their liberty, thus make game of the liberty of others. Poor Negroes! … But such feelings must be concealed from the Louisianans, as this is a point on which they are sensitive.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
From the hindsight of history, it might be easy to judge Saint Mother Theodore for her silence in this instance. Though she saw the sin of slavery clearly, it appears she may have let her fear of how others would react prevent her from calling it out. Perhaps we can find encouragement from what may seem a weakness. Even the greatest of saints, the most holy of people, weren’t perfect. What made them great and holy was that they kept striving toward greater relationship with God and greater pursuit of God’s will. That’s something I can do: continue striving to improve myself, with the gift of grace.
• How does the world around me impact my own ability to see God clearly?
• Where does my own blindness obscure my ability to see the oppression of others?
Extra challenge: Watch the documentary 13th to learn more about oppression in today’s United States. It’s available on Netflix for private viewing and available for free for public screenings without a Netflix subscription.
Saturday, March 4
“If you hold back your foot on the Sabbath from following your own pursuits on my holy day; if you call the Sabbath a delight and God’s holy day honorable … then you shall delight in your God.” – Isaiah 58:13-14
“We had agreed among ourselves that our first visit would be made to the Blessed Sacrament, and that we would not speak to anyone before having satisfied this longing of our hearts.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
God asks not that we reverence Sunday above all else or that we only spend time in formal prayer but that we make time to recognize God’s role in our lives and to rest in God.
• How do I ensure that I leave space for God to be primary to how I live my life?