29 His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
True study, preparation, and prayer during Lent takes a lot of courage. It is a time for me of soul searching. It is a time for me of honest reflection. It is a time for me of realizing where I need to let go. I wonder how you are experiencing Lent this year.
It seems to me fasting from something or doing something new in servant leadership is a fine something to do during Lent. But it we do this and do not reflect, reconcile, and resolve, we are missing an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Lord our God. Henri J.M. Nouwen in Sabbatical Journey The Diary of His Final Year explains this opportunity we have as it relates to the heart of courage:
The word courage comes from coeur, which means “heart.” To have courage is to listen to our heart, to speak from our heart, and to act from our heart…. Often we debate current issues and express our opinions about them. But courage is taking a stance, even an unpopular stance, not because we think differently from others but because from the center of our being we realize how to respond to the situation we are in. Courage does not require special gestures. Courage often starts in small corners: it is courage not to participate in gossip, not to talk behind someone’s back, not to ridicule another. It is courageous to think well of other people and be grateful to them…. It is courageous to reach out to a poor woman, to spend time with a troubled child, to participate in action to prevent war and violence.”
Living with courage and acting from that inner place within us where we experience the power of the Holy Spirit, we can move forward with action that is pleasing to God, not merely reacting to something happening around us. This is the fruit of reflect, reconcile, and resolve.
May you be blessed today with the fruit of courage.