The Contemplative Companion for Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017

“Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.” – Psalm 51.14

I learned from the Eastern Orthodox communion that they call the Lenten season “a bright sadness.” A time to mourn human dysfunction., devolution and fragmentation. And also a time to rejoice in the remedy of healing and wholeness provided for us in the Way and Life of Christ.

Psalm 51 fits into the ethos and pattern of a “bright sadness.” Palm 51 famously provides both aspects of this bright sadness. The confession of sin of a broken man (King David) and the re-connection with his deepest joy of life and wholeness in his consent to God.

David’s prayer is our pattern too. Psalm 51 is the anthem of Lent. And it calls us beyond the normal joys and delights of our body: food, drink, sleep, sex, media, and so on, into the joy of our healing and wholeness in Christ. Repentance – recognizing our need, and wishing for a new direction is how we start the process of exchanging weeping for wonder, confession for praise, ashen sadness for bright joy.

Enhance your Lenten ethos and practice by exploring the Orthodox expression of Christian faith. Here are two helpful sites: 

If you are looking for a way to participate in Lent this year, and partake in a Lenten process of transforming darkness into light, ash into resurrection, suffering into wisdom, I highly recommend Contemplative Outreach’s online program. For further information, read  the following  adapted from their online newsletter:

Join a global community of contemplative practitioners in exploring the mystery of suffering during the liminal time of the Lenten season.  Our online retreat will recognize the nuances of various kinds of suffering, such as:

– aloneness;
– loss and grief;
– diminishment through illness, aging, death;
– the breadth and depth of worldwide suffering.

Through art, videos, personal sharing and the teachings of Thomas Keating and other contemplative exemplars, this Lenten e-course will support you in a deepened understanding and experience of God’s presence and action in the difficulties of life.

The Transformation of Suffering:
A Lenten Online Journey
March 1 – April 14, 2017
in partnership with Spirituality & Practice
partial scholarships available
6 CEHs for chaplains available
Read more about the course contents and sign up here.

© 2017 All Rights Reserved.

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