Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent

On our Order’s web site there are several items of interest such as the abbot general’s travel various elections from Cistercian monasteries around the world and then the ultimate announcement death notices! These follow a certain grammatical formula. The last sentence always ends with these words: “Brother so and so was 90 years old and 70 years in monastic vows when the Lord called him”. The lord called him. It is a nice way to say it, formal enough yet intimate. It is better than saying he died at the age of 90 or he passed at the age of 90 – no he was called. We have been endowed with free will and usually we can answer a call or not but this ultimate call we have to answer whether we want to or not.

In today’s Gospel Jesus says he possesses life in himself. This is a prerogative of God. We do not possess life in ourselves and this is never more clear than when we receive the final call. Life is a gift that we must return to the giver. No human being has ever escaped this call, even Jesus, who possessed life in himself, gave it up for our sake. In doing so he shows us the path to true life only comes through death.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God did not cling to his divinity but emptied himself taking the form of a slave. He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

This should be the pattern of our life so at the end we too can say, I have been given life not to do my own will but the will of the one who gave me life.