Monday, March 5, 2012

The Singing Bowl

I will be frank with you: I am not happy with my practice of Lent so far.   It's so easy to just blithely trip along through my days, driven by habitual responses in both thought and word.  I have a concise, tidy list of abnegations, but I am not quite hitting all the notes.

I am not speaking solely of "slipping" up on my Lenten commitments, though I am doing some of that, as well.  I am thinking more about the undertone.  There is a lack of quality, of clarity, and of  brightness.

I have a "singing bowl" that belonged to my sister-in-law, Sharon.  When you strike it, the note resounds long and clear; it has remarkable duration.  On the other hand, I was in a forum recently in which the presenter used a singing bowl to make a point.  The bowl was either cracked or she did not know how to properly strike it because it made a dull thunk.  It lacked the brilliance and purity I was expecting.   The presenter realized the flaw, simply put the bowl away and used another method to call the group's attention.

This analogy works with my experience of Lent so far.  I've got the right equipment but I am not striking that bright, transparent and enduring tone.  However, I'm not yet prepared to just set the bowl aside entirely.

Yesterday in Mass, these words from the second reading struck me:

31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Romans 8:31-32

It reminded me of Father Jonathan's homily just before Ash Wednesday; he told us to ask for a miracle.  I realized that my practice of Lent so far has been more about attending to my sacrifices; I have not been praying for total transformation.  The gospel yesterday was about the transfiguration.  As the words were read, "and his clothes became dazzling white," and "this is my beloved Son, listen to him," I could almost hear that singing bowl ring out.  

This Jesus, God's son,  my savior, is more than capable of creating conversion in me; my part is to invite it and allow the transformation to ring true and clear. 

I say, "Yes." 

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