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2. Joyce Rupp: Focus on one thing only
Six months ago I lived the simple life of a pilgrim, walking 450 miles on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. During those seven weeks all I did each day was walk toward St. James Cathedral in Santiago. I didn’t have to hurry madly to get there, pit myself against the walking pace of other pilgrims, or worry if my clothes were fashionable. I had just one main thing to do: walk. It took 10 days before my distracted self finally “just walked.” From then on, little else occupied my mind and heart. It was the most focused and free I have ever been.
Since returning home, I see how easy it is to succumb to the subtle cravings of my superficially-oriented culture. It seduces me to clutter up my life, dress in a certain way, be knowledgeable on every subject, scurry around as busily as everyone else, and work in a frenetic fashion. When I give in to these things I am thrown off balance. I lose my peace and sense of inner direction. I lack clarity in my spiritual goals, forget the truths preached by Jesus, and experience frustrating days of self-orientation.
Lent is a time to clear away the cultural debris that disorients me on the Christian path. The Lenten acts of deprivation I choose are of little value unless they help my mind and heart to be more attentive and focused on one thing only: to walk the gospel message—to love as Jesus loved. All else is secondary.
1. What in my life distracts me from God?
2. Is my Lenten sacrifice eliminating distractions or creating more?
3. Do I need to go on a pilgrimage to focus my heart on God? Or are there other ways to find God’s presence in my life?
Rupp is a member of the Servants of Mary community and the award-winning author of numerous books.
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