This third week of Lent begins with the feast of St David, transferred from Sunday. As well as being the patron saint of Wales, this great sixth century bishop was also a tireless preacher against the heresy of pelagianism, or spiritual self-sufficiency.
The reading from St Paul chosen for St David’s feast points up what we need to do as a community to avoid this pitfall. Only if each of us acknowledges that we are but a part of the body, not the whole, having “a profound respect for each other”, do we stand any chance of becoming the “light of the world” that Christ longs for us to be.
Respect for the other is the theme of the meditation chosen for this feast, from Pseudo-Macarius. Christians, he says, “should look upon all persons with a single mind and a pure eye, so that it may be for such a person almost a natural and fixed attitude never to despise or judge or abhor anyone, or to divide people according to categories.” The reading from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, on March 3, is related to this, since it deals with the way Jesus ‘thirsts’ for our souls to be unequivocably given over to his perspective rather than ours: “he knows your weakness, he wants only your love…”
In the Gospel for next Sunday, this irrepressible longing takes a radical form as Christ overturns the tables in the temple. Are we willing to have our assumptions, our complacency, overturned? Yet the alternative to responding fully to Christ is something dreadful, as Pope Francis puts it in the meditation for March 5: “When we no longer remember God, we… become unreal, we… become empty; like the rich man in the Gospel, we no longer have a face! Those who run after nothing become nothing.”
Leonie Caldecott is the editor of Magnificat UK and Ireland
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