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2014 Mid-Atlantic Congress -- Reflection on the 1st Week of Lent
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1st Sunday in Lent

Sunday Scripture Readings

Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Ps 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17
Rom 5:12-19
Mt 4:1-11


Reflecting on the Readings

The following ideas and phrases from this Sunday’s readings stand out.

  • God the "potter” puts all of his delight and care into forming the clay into something new and beautiful, life.
  • The beauty of the garden was "delightful to look at” and a reminder of God’s infinite love and compassion.
  • Beautiful things lead us to a focus on, appreciation of, and a desire for the Other—for God. They are not intended to be an end unto themselves.
  • When what is beautiful becomes something to possess and own, we wander into self-centeredness and sin.
  • By recognizing our sin, putting a "willing spirit” within us, and proclaiming God’s praise (Ps. 51), we are able to refocus our desire on God and respond to God’s call to us.

What phrases or ideas stand out to you and why?

Making Connections

Recall the first point that Rev. Bob Barron made during his closing keynote:

  • Start with what is beautiful.
  • Beauty has a unifying power that inspires wonder and awe in all of us.
  • When we are drawn into what is beautiful, we are naturally curious about what is right and good.

As you read the Scriptures for the 1st Sunday in Lent and think about the points from Rev. Barron’s presentation, what connections do you see? How are they meaningful to you?

Reflection Questions/Activities

As you reflect on the following, share your thoughts or images on Facebook(#MACongress), Twitter(#MACongress), Instagram, or Pinterest.

Where do you experience beauty in your daily life?

How has that impacted how you experience God?

Of all that God has created, what inspires wonder and awe in your most? When do you need to be reminded of the wonder and awe most?

What tempts you to self-centeredness? How do you navigate away from that temptation?

How can you share the wonder and awe of God with others in your life?

Additional Resources

Tending the Mustard Seed from New City Press

[The medieval cathedrals] were produced by people for whom the whole world — animals, planets, insects, grasses, seas, and clouds — were symbolic manifestations of a spiritual universe that cannot be seen. That medieval people loved the ordinary things of this world is obvious. One can see it, for instance, in the detail of their illuminated manuscripts and carvings. But for them the beauties of this universe were but a foretaste and shadow of the Beauty that created them, a veil transparent to the ultimately real….

“[T]hese cathedrals are powerful repositories of the Christian spirit, vehicles of the new being that became available in Jesus of Nazareth. In their windows, towers, vaults, naves, roses, labyrinths, altars, and façades, these Gothic churches bring the transformative energy of Jesus Christ to bear on our world.”

From Heaven in Stone and Glass: Experiencing the Spirituality of the Great Cathedrals (Crossroad, 2000).

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