Forty Days

LentThe next forty days can define a change of character.  Fasting and prayer are important aspects of the Lenten Season but also deeply examining who we are as people –as Christians– gives us the opportunity to reflect how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us as followers of Christ.

As a child, my family gathered after dinner to sit for thirty minutes in what my parents called “The Examination of Conscience.”   My Father began these nightly sessions by playing an out of tune guitar while singing “De Colores” in his out of tune, but joyful voice.  We were asked two questions after he finished torturing the guitar and (our ears): “Who did you help today?” and “Who did you hurt today?”

We were not to answer these two questions out loud.  This was a time for silence and reflection on our thoughts, speech and actions of the day.  Squirming in our chairs while our friends were outside playing green ghost, we had to think about those two questions for the eternity of the half hour.  The chime of the clock released us at exactly 7:30 but before we could rise, Father said “If you helped people today, Our Father in Heaven saw your good deeds” and my Mother would say “If you hurt someone today, is there a way to make amends to that person?  “Because God saw that too.”  “God saw that too …” these four little words shaped the pattern of daily self examination and in daily practice of knowing that God indeed, sees all.

Matthew 6:16-18


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