“Can you drink this cup?” “Can you accept the chalice of your existence—the humanity entrusted to you?”
“You shall be obedient to your destiny. You shall not continually try to escape it! You shall be true to yourself. You shall embrace yourself. You shall allow yourself to be under the hand of Another.”
These questions and challenges cause me to pause and reflect. A posture we are called to assume in the upcoming Lenten season.
During a recent spiritual direction session with a directee, I found myself commenting: “This sounds like a deep and significant surrender.” Even as the words left my mouth, I had the sense that they did not come from me. It felt like the Divine had entered into our conversation. Of course, that is always the hope and prayer for spiritual direction. The director and directee, as co-discerners, prepare a space for God and open themselves to listening to God in and through their conversation. Those words have stayed with me and prompted me to ask God what they mean to me, what God is saying to me through that phrase.
My 2023 started with what our son described as “a time when life gives us an abundance of joy.” Our whole family and many friends joined together in Oaxaca, Mexico to celebrate the marriage of our son, Shane and Frida Robles Calderon. The two had married in a small ceremony with immediate family in 2019 with the plan for a larger traditional Oaxacan celebration in Frida’s hometown. Unfortunately, Covid and other life events had prevented that from happening. The long wait only made the celebration sweeter and more meaningful.
I have been experiencing what I call the “afterglow”. Sensing God calling me to savor and continue to enjoy this deep and significant blessing to our family. I am also mindful that God sometimes uses those times of abundant joy—when God’s love for me and mine feels so real—to prepare me for “what’s next.” This could and usually does involve a surrender. So, when I heard the words “deep and significant surrender”, I paid attention. I am continuing to ponder their meaning in my life now.
As we prepare to enter into Lent (Ash Wednesday is February 22), let’s use this ordinary time to ponder some of these thoughts/questions. To simply sit with God, pose the questions, and listen. Pray for an open and receptive heart. Pray to get to know God better so we can discern what pleases him. Maybe even ask God what He most loves about us! Or what He most loves about someone we have a hard time loving. Then listen, be patient, and behold (be sure to see) how God answers.
We are called –with all our particular deficiencies, struggles, and crosses—to unite ourselves with Christ and to seek to grow in virtue. May we drink the chalice that God holds out to us and allow God’s holy will to work on us. May we come to realize that we are quite under the hand of Another and that it is good.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
 POVERTY OF SPIRIT by Johannes Baptist Metz