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Lent Retreat - Week 4, Wednesday, St Patrick's Day

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Readings: 1 Peter 4:7-11; Psalm 95:1-3. 7-8; Luke 5:1-11

The Gospel from Luke for this St Patrick’s Day places before us the call of Jesus to his first disciples. After preaching from the boat of Simon Peter, Jesus offers the fishermen a daring invitation that will call them to far greater horizons than they could ever imagine. “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Christian discipleship is indeed a journey into deep water. Like Simon Peter, Jesus calls each of us to move beyond the shallow waters of life to explore the immeasurable depths of God’s love and mercy, to journey deep within ourselves to discover the truth of what God has done in us by calling us into existence, by shaping us to be the unique and wonderful people each of us is and to discover and celebrate this same dignity and wonder in each other.

If we seek to discover the mystery of God and the boundless ocean of his love then we must begin with looking within ourselves. In coming to know and love ourselves as God created us to be, we also discover the loving presence of God who dwells in our depths and speaks to our hearts. As Saint Augustine said, “God is closer to us than we are to ourselves”. Only when we have taken this risk and begun to find God in the deep water of our inner life can we be truly convincing disciples of Christ and bring him to others in the world who seek this perfect love of God so much.

St Patrick discovered this in his life. Afraid and enslaved, it was while herding sheep on a lonely Irish mountain that he turned to prayer and discovered the inner strength that comes from that deep relationship with God. It was this relationship that spurred him on to preach and teach the Christian faith for the rest of his life and to convert an island nation. This Lent we can begin to take more time aside each day in silence and prayer so that we too might discover in the deep waters of our own being this God who loves us and speaks to us in the very depths of our being. “O unchanging God, let me know myself; let me know you. That is my prayer” (St Augustine).

David Barrins OP


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