He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.”
Day 35: Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent – John 8:23
He [Jesus] said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.”
Additional Reading(s) today: Num. 21:4-9; John 8:21-30
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Today’s Gospel message must have been confusing to the people listening. They couldn’t fully comprehend who Jesus was. Even those who believed in Him couldn’t completely grasp the enormity of Who was standing before them. Hearing Jesus say that they would not be able to go where He was going and that they were of a different world may have made them feel cut off, shut out, or maybe even a little sad. And there have probably been days when you have felt that same way in your walk with God. We are of this world, and hard as we try to bridge our way to the next and make that divine connection, our humanity keeps us bound to this place and space, and temptation abounds. If we look at the spiritual masters throughout history, the Desert Fathers and Mothers, monks and nuns, however, we can see the ways they created this “other world” within their earthly world. They did this by finding and keeping silence, solitude, and simplicity in lives built of intention and devotion. In her book The Soul of a Pilgrim, Christine Valters talks about how the ancient Celts sought out the “thin veil” between Heaven and earth, those times and places where God’s presence was most palpable: “The Irish devout knew that the physical desert landscape could not be found in the lush terrain of their island, but the spirit of the inner dessert, the cave of the heart, the cell, was found within. We are called to cultivate that same interior space. We are invited to welcome in the spiritual edge that is right in our midst.”
Day 35 Lenten Meditation
Think about the space within your home right now. For this exercise, imagine that this space is your whole world. What feelings come up when you think about it? Is your “world” (home) full to overflowing with stuff? Or is it stripped down to the basics? Is it a peaceful-feeling oasis that invites you to stay awhile or are you always looking to run away? Think of the ways you can create a “desert space” within your home, a sacred area you can retreat to once a day, even if only for a few minutes with a cup of coffee or tea and silent prayer. Make this area a place of peace where there is space for you and God to meet face to face without any distraction.
Lord, we are so much invested into this material world that it can be challenging to fix our eyes on anything else. Today, however, we desire to set our eyes on You, seeking You out in the silent desert spaces without our hearts and amidst our often cluttered and chaotic lives. Abba Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit. We want to feel and understand Your presence as our hearts long to be close to Your eternal peace. Amen.
Today’s suggested penance
*Set up a quiet space in your home for you and God. Pray for more of His presence and peace.
“As to the past, let us entrust it to God’s mercy; the future to Divine Providence. Our task is to live holy the present moment” -Saint Gianna Molla.