Apr 7, 2019

FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT

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Christ Be Our Light: Week VI

Follow our Lenten theme and review past reflections on our website www.stphilip.org

Is That Better?
Is that better? . . . is asked when one’s chin is resting gently on a phoropter. A phoropter? Yes, a phoropter is the instrument used during an eye examination to measure refractive response to determine eyeglass prescriptions. The patient sits behind a phoropter and looks through it at an eye chart. The optometrist then changes lenses, while asking the patient for feedback on which setting gives the best vision. www.verywellhealth.com. During our theme we have been learning how to see more clearly by inviting the light of Christ into our shadows and darkness through prayer. Prayer acts like a phoropter because it changes the way we see. Prayer adjusts the lens of our vision, our thinking, feeling and actions. Prayer helps us to see with a new focus. Christ our light shines into our lives asking the question. . .is that better?

In today’s Gospel Jesus sees the sinful woman through the lens of love. Jesus changes the focus of her accusers by adjusting the lens of their judgment. Jesus teaches them to look at their own darkness before turning their gaze to the shadows in others. Prayer is the lens that changes how we see for the better. Isaiah the prophet hears God speak to him saying “See, I make all things new!” God makes things new and better through prayer. Prayer does not often change what is seen such as, circumstances and other people. Prayer always changes our focus and perspective to help us to see the next right and loving thing to do.

An example of the difference prayer can make occurred for me a few years ago, prompted by a discussion with Fr. Jared. I wanted to introduce a program to the parish, but we were running out of time and were both extremely busy with other pastoral matters. During our talk Fr. Jared said, “Do we really need to do this program this year or can we just wait until next year? The only place this needs to happen now is in your mind.” I was annoyed. I decided to pray about what he said and my reaction by enlisting the “Bless him” prayer. The next day while reflecting, it seemed that God was saying to me, “Joe, listen to Jared. Did it ever occur to you that I work and speak through other people too?” I was better and suddenly at peace. Prayer changed my perspective and I saw the situation from a different vantage. We introduced the program the following year. God adjusted my lens to see clearly and to listen more carefully to God working through other people. Prayer often does not change what we see but how we see it.

Four Lenses of Prayer: ACTS
The next time that you rest your chin in your folded hands to pray try one or more of these four lenses of prayer that spell the anagram ACTS.

Adoration: ponder God’s blessings in creation. Gratefully notice beauty, goodness and truth. Praise God from whom all blessings flow – with quiet reverence.
Contrition: what areas in your life are shaded, shadowed or dark? Where do you need healing, forgiveness – a new start? Speak to God and listen to your inner voice and pay attention to how God may be speaking to you through others.
Thanksgiving: who are the people, places, things, relationships, personal gifts that you wish to thank God for? Make a gratitude list – give thanks.
Supplication: who needs your prayer and what action will you take to help that prayer to become a reality in his or her life? These lenses of prayer help us to see God in all things . . . Isn’t that better?

Lenten Prayer
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine in the darkness.
We shine your love,
Placing our hope and trust in you.

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