Matt 6: 1-6, 16-18
Your Father, who sees all that is done in secret, will reward you.
This year, our examination at the foot of the Cross, shall center in a particular way on three points. First, the acknowledgment of our shortcomings from which arises our deficiency before God. Secondly, the examination of our observance of interior discipline, which may be called Manuductio ad Coelum. Finally, we shall direct our attention, prudently and reflectively, to the external aspects of our apostolic work, not merely to have a knowledge of good in general, but to seek the greater good which can and must be furthered... this searching will make us eager to find the means for the attainment of our purpose. These means are threefold: a continuous inner conversation with God about our needs and interests; a deep study of humility, that we may be capable of receiving special gifts from God for the renewal of our life; and a burning desire for the inner and hidden life in the adorable wounds of the Crucified.
Lent is about reform. Today’s Gospel is basically a summary of practices, disciplines that can form the basis of any relationship. Honest and direct communication, fasting from my own agenda so that I might listen, and works of kindness and helpfulness will build any relationship. Jesus seek to reform our attitudes. He wants to take us beyond these external practices and lead us deeper into a relationship that is intimate, alive and personal. Striving for virtue for its own sake closes us in upon ourselves. On the other hand, a self-less act of charity uncovers and reveals a solidarity and experience of community that is the core of Jesus’ desire.
Lent reforms the ground of our hearts and minds in much the same way as winter reforms the earth. Each year this discipline plants us at the foot of the cross that we might see what fruits may grow. Jesus send us to our rooms, not for punishment, but that he might nourish us with the rewards of his friendship. St. Gaspar calls us away on retreat not just that we might examine our ministry, but that we might seek the greater good, that conversation with God as with a friend. It is the disciplines proper to personal and familial friendships and relationships that will renew our lives.
- Do I need to find a new interior discipline or renew an old one?
- Where has winter transformed my life?
- Where am I most in need of reform?
- Where are we most in need of reform?
- What are the disciplines proper to personal relationships, and how might I exercise these disciplines with Jesus?
 Cf. Rule, Title II
 Handbook for Heaven
 From the Third Circular Letter, 1829