"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return," said the priest as he marked my face with the ashes of last year's palm crosses, mixed with holy oil. So, Lent begins again, the cycling back towards the Journey to Jerusalem with Jesus.
Last year, I undertook to reflect throughout my Lent on this blog. It was an interesting discipline and it made me stop each night to look back on the day, the good and the bad things. I didn't quite manage every single day but was fairly close. This year's Lenten discipline is slightly different. Lent is about opening myself to God's goodness in new and different ways, looking for the light of Sophia's hand opening in my life.
So this year, I have a Lenten task: to write a Divine Office for Sophia, using the Sophia translation of the psalms that Mother Laura Grimes sent to me. I made a start tonight after the Ash Wednesday service (which was lovely - held at St Faith's Ohinemutu, combined with the Catholics and Methodists, and beautifully bilingual!), and have finished a Monday morning prayer office. I'm going to give it a test run tomorrow morning to see how it goes.The format of the Divine Office is clearly set throughout history - all I'm doing is tinkering with the translations.
I'll also be undertaking some physical as well as spiritual exercise each day.
The other part of a Benedictine Lent is to read a study book right through. I had already started Sophia: the hidden Christ of Thomas Merton by Christopher Pramuk, but had come to a grinding halt with it a couple of months ago: it's very interesting but quite dense! I am going to read this as my Lent book, and if I finish it before the end of Lent there is another study book waiting in the wings that I haven't started yet, but has been eyeing me up from the bookshelf in my library.
I'm interested to see how this threefold discipline: writing and praying liturgy, reading, and exercise, will help me open myself more to God's darkness and love.