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“A Lenten Disappointment?” – Fr. Paul Walsh’s, CSB Reflection On Lent – Mexico City, MX.

March 11, 2024

At the time the Basilians were founded, there was a very particular tension between older members set in their diocesan ways and younger members more attracted to the dynamism of the Jesuits.  One young man, after giving us a go, even left and joined the Jesuits.  A few months later he was back with us.  The biographers do not tell us what happened, but I have to believe at some level he experienced disappointment – he did not have what it took to be a Jesuit.  This time, he stayed with us, eventually becoming our community’s first historian, Father Julien Tracol.

I have to believe that disappointment is one the most difficult experiences we face in our spiritual journey.  It occurs at so many times in our life and in so many ways.  But perhaps the most difficult experience is when we are disappointed with ourselves, when we do not live up to our own ideals, our own dreams as did Father Tracol.  What was he thinking upon his return? That he was settling for second best, the Basilians?  That he had failed? Or that he had struck upon what was to be his path in life, his vocation where the Lord was actually leading him?

I think of Lent also as a season for confronting our own dreams and ideals in the light of what the Lord has in mind for us.  It may even be a season for thinking of a specific disappointment.  The disciplines of Lent guide us to recover a deeper intimacy with God in prayer and fasting and greater charity towards others in almsgiving and so discover God’s ways.  In this our own ways get challenged, as well as our thoughts and dreams.  As one of the readings of the Easter Vigil reminds us: “My ways are not your ways”.  Oh, that Lent may be an occasion to discover these ourselves even at the cost of disappointment.

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