Sunday, March 8, 2015
Righteousness follows from the conversation [with Jesus]. -St. Augustine
Today's Daily Office talks about the Samaritan woman drawing water and her astonishing conversation with the son of God, Jesus. St. Augustine wants us to put ourselves into the story. The Samaritan woman isn't just some random historical figure, she is also a modern day "us."
"She is a symbol of the Church not yet made righteous, but about to be made righteous. Righteousness follows from the conversation [with Jesus.]" -St. Augustine
Earlier this week, I made a critique of a new book by Catholic author Bill Donohue. It's not easy to disagree with another Catholic in public, especially someone who is famous and well known. Today's reading gives me courage. In the Mass reading on Sunday, we hear "Jesus did not need to be instructed on human nature. He knew it well." Jesus was not shocked by the Samaritan woman's poor behavior before this meeting at the well. Despite knowing her ugly past and sinful present, Jesus invites her to join him in a conversation.
Conversation with God = a conversion.
I'm really guilty of taking too relaxed an attitude with my prayer life. I'm convinced that I can't pray over a colicky baby or that other urgent household need should be handled first. The two year old will wake up early and after I attend to her needs, I never get back on track with my prayer routine. Or my husband is home for a rare peaceful weekend morning, and I feel self conscious leaving his company to go pray.
St. Augustine reminds me today that my prayer life isn't optional. It's as critical as getting water from the well for my family. Before indoor plumbing, getting water from a well was a daily task. Carrying water was hard work. It was messy. It didn't feel good. Yet it was critical for survival.
My prayer life is a conversation with God and one that will have a hidden result, a conversion of my heart.
Last week was a tough week for me. We had another blizzard in Washington DC. My baby has colic. By Saturday morning, I felt super irritable and resentful. So I went to confession. My priest was there with so much love and compassion for me, much like Jesus at the well. He reminded me that if I want to change my sin of anger, I need to change the conversation inside my own head. "Anger comes from unmet expectations," he said. "If you want to stop being resentful, flip your thoughts to gratitude."
My kid's favorite Lego Movie quote is "Believe! I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it is true!" That movie line seems to fit so perfectly here. It seems so impossible that a quick conversation about sin inside a confessional could turn me around, but its true. It happened. The sacraments are powerful places of grace.
St. Augustine's quote reminds me that my conversations with Jesus will bear supernatural fruit. Conversation = conversion. I'm encouraged to keep going deeper in prayer this Lent. May we all travel well on our individual faith journeys and meet in a calmer and more peaceful place this Lent.
St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us!