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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Mark 14:32-72

For many years, I found myself on a sort of pendulum when it came to my spiritual life. I would go through times when I felt especially connected to God and my spiritual life seemed to be booming. It was easy for me to find time for prayer/meditation, my devotions, and participation in spiritual community. Other times, however, things didn’t come so easy. Often, when I fell away from my spiritual practices, it would get me off track and start extended periods of disconnection for me.

The reading I did today from Mark was a good challenge for me to confront my “roller coaster” approach toward my spiritual life – going from one extreme to another. For in that reading, there were two examples of how Peter wasn’t able to stay connected to Jesus. There was the famous example of Peter’s denial of Jesus three times in the courtyard. There was also the less famous example of how Peter was one of the three disciples who fell asleep three times in the Garden of Gethsemane while waiting for Jesus.

What’s important for me in all of this is that Peter was able to incorporate all aspects of himself – the parts that were faithful and disciplined as well as those parts that seemed to fall short – and still lead an integrated life. With that in mind, I draw encouragement to get off my roller coaster and start doing a better job integrating all of the aspects of myself into one whole.

As we prepare to officially begin the Lenten season tomorrow, I know that many of you might be adding the practice of a particular spiritual discipline to your Lenten experience. Some of you might be giving something up; others might be adding something. Regardless of what practice you might be incorporating, be gentle with yourself and realize there is a chance that you might not be perfect in your commitments. You might slip up at certain points. If that’s the case, don’t use those slip ups as an excuse to pull back from God. Rather, use them as a reminder that God has reached out to you – just as God reached out to Peter – imperfections and all. Use that realization to draw you even closer to your all-loving, all-embracing Creator.

Til next time…

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