As the Season of Lent is a call to conversion through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, John of the Cross, with his added insistence on conversion, is a good guide for the Season of Lent. For John of the Cross, conversion takes place when God calls the faithful to replace their usual way of finding fulfillment in life, with God himself.
Thus, with the guidance of John of the Cross, Lent can become a period of renewal, a period where we reorder our priorities from many things to one: God alone. We still have our work to do and obligations to fulfill, but throughout Lent we can learn to be for God alone and to find our reward in God alone.
Such an undertaking cannot be done by mere human willing; we need the help of God, which comes primarily through prayer. Lent and prayer go together like labor and energy. Without the energy that comes from food, we would have a hard time getting our labor done. The same is true with ordering our lives around God during Lent. Without the energy that comes from encountering God in prayer, we will not have the energy to center our lives around God alone, much like Elijah could not continue the journey to Mount Horeb unless he ate the food given co him by an angel. Like Elijah, and in the words of John of the Cross, “Seek in reading and you will find in meditation; knock in prayer and it will be opened to you in contemplation.”
We invite you to join us our Lenten Journey with John of the Cross. Our Lenten practice is taken from A Lenten Journey with Jesus Christ and St. John of the Cross by Fr. George Mangiaracina O.C.D. Each day of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, we will provide the Gospel of the day along with a brief extract taken from the works of John of the Cross, a reflection and, finally, a prayer.