There is a famous story of a man who allowed thorns to grow in front of his house. The people who used to visit his house mentioned it to him. But he didn’t listen to them. As the years went by the thorns grew fast and became big and it blocked the way to his house. As a result, people stopped visiting his home. The man also become very old and weak. He had no more strength to remove the thorns which had grown very big.
Once again we are in the season of Lent. We are invited to make the forty days of spiritual journey for the feast of Easter. It is also a time to look into our spiritual life and see what are the “thorns” we allow to grow in our life, and take the necessary steps to remove them from us before they grow big.
In the beginning of the Lenten season, for the liturgical reading we always have the model of Jesus who spent forty days in fasting and prayer before beginning his public ministry. St. Mark in his gospel gives a very brief and meaningful description of it:
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him (Mk 1:12-13).
It is our common experience that we always live with two contradictory possibilities; either to be good or to be bad, to be faithful or unfaithful, to be selfish or to be merciful, to forgive or to be revengeful etc… It is this contradictory situation in us, which St. Mark points to when he says that Jesus was with the wild beasts and the angels waited on him. We have always the possibility to grow in holiness so as to be welcomed by angels or to fall in our sinfulness so as to be like the wild animals.
This reminds us about the need for spiritual combat in our life. In a special way, the Lenten season invites us to this spiritual combat. The means for this spiritual combat are: prayer, fasting and works of mercy. Let us take up these spiritual weapons in this season of Lent and engage ourselves in this spiritual combat so as to grow more in our faith, discipline and holiness.
About the Author:
Fr. Binoy Puthusery, C.M. is a Vincentian priest belonging to the Southern Indian Province. He was ordained as priest on December 27, 2008 and soon after served as an assistant parish priest in Tanzania. In 2011, after two years of ministry, he was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Vincentian Sisters of Mercy, Mbinga Tanzania. He currently lives in Barakaldo (Spain), and is a teacher in the Masters in Vincentian Studies.