The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

Lent is coming, as you are probably aware from the requests regarding Pancake Tuesday next week.  By now, the New Year has well passed, and quite likely so have your New Year’s Resolutions.  Lucky for you the Church offers us Lent as a time of renewal.  Many of you would remember the ‘older’ practices that we took up, for example giving up something nice.  I would like to suggest something a little different.

Recently in the Gospel we heard Jesus recommending to us all the Golden Rule: do to others as you would like them to treat you.  What a good practice for Lent…if we get it right.  Too often we can interpret this as being nice to people.  I think this is a mistake and we make this because we give little thought to how we really want other people to treat us.  Oh yes, we would like them to be kind, to be generous, to be easy on us.  But is that all we want? 

We all labour under certain failings, even sins, that we wish we could face and deal with. Maybe it is not will power that we lack but rather a realistic programme for dealing with them.  We could find we watch too much media, eat, drink, smoke too much.  We could be getting angry with our children too readily.  You know your weaknesses as I know mine.  Now sit down, take a little time with yourself and imagine how you would like a loving person to treat you with regards to these failings.  What would a truly caring person recommend to you?  Be prepared to be surprised.   We could well find that the cause of our failings comes from something different, a pain within ourselves that needs to be lovingly dealt with. When we discover how to offer ourselves compassion, we will find we have compassion for others.

Loving Jesus, in this coming time of Lent, let me face the failings that undermine the happiness of my life and make me difficult for other people.  Give me your wise Spirit to teach me with a deep and genuine love. I ask this in your name confident that you will hear me.

Sr Kym Harris osb