We are reading from St. Augustine's Confessions in the Office of Readings. Augustine realizes late in life, relatively speaking, the sinfulness of his life. He has to profound conversion experience. St. Augustine recognizes our propensity to Sin and sinfulness. All the more reason then for us to uncover grace in our lives and live according to the ways we have received in the values an virtues of Christian life. Because St. Augustine understands Sin so well, he also has an understanding of God's love and mercy.
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. While I will write about this more, I have been think of how we need to move away from the "magical" connotation that is connected to 'ashes.' St. John the Baptist's words challenging the Pharisees and Sadducees comes to mind. Hopefully this time of Lent will become a real moment of conversion and discipleship for people. Sadly it seems that until we are on the ground writhing in anquish, we do not really appreciate the intensity of our sins, and how Sinfulness is controlling our life.
This past Fall a large group from our Diocese went to San Diego for a stewardship conference. Some who had never heard folks so alive about faith, Church, and ministry, were overfwhelmed by the excitement of so many people. There was a n understanding that there is something more about church life.
It would be wonderous if something simular happens this Lent. If men and women could come to see their life in Christ in a new and exciting way. There is that quote, "Chrisitians can be like street children satisfied with playing in the mud with sticks, because they cannot even imagine a sunny day on a beach." if just ten percent of Christians had a 'Jesus' experience this Lent, and really took on conversion and discipleship as a life motiff; That would be absolutely awesome.