During Lent, during the last two weeks, do you have your private chamber? Jesus said to. It’s in Matthew 6:1.
There the Lord told us that “when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”
That was the reading on Ash Wednesday — Lent’s very beginning. Now, we near its end.
He had His secret place. It was in the desert. There, He prepared for His mission. He prepared to save the world. A secret place is where we are alone with God. “I do not belong to this world,” He said (John 8).
It’s where — our inner sanctuary — we connect.
It’s where we feel Him.
There’s no disturbance from outside.
The soul finds rest.
In rest is nurture.
It could be a physical place. It could be a devotion. It could be a prayer.
We can imagine a secret place as like the grotto at Lourdes, or the vault that holds the Shroud, or the most precious Adoration chapel.
It is where we sacrifice without others knowing it.
It is the place where we feel most humble, most charitable, deepest love.
The wounds of the world are healed.
There is no jealousy.
It’s where you can hear your heart beat, and where yours beats with His.
It is where you can halt worst thoughts.
It is where you find your angel.
It is best visited in morning hours. Or in the midst of night.
By day it is entered through the Stations of the Cross.
It could be the tiny curtained room at Calvary that houses the Tomb.
It could be a spot on a mountain.
It is where the devil can not touch you.
It is beyond the cares of pretension.
The gold in it comes from goodness.
The silver is purity of intention.
It does not need to be a physical place.
It should go where you do.
It is called your “inner chambers.”
It is the true you. It is the “you” before the layers of the world were applied (like cosmetics). It is where we have no role to play — but for adoration.
This Lent, go to yours, or build one.
Make it cozy. Make it holy. A holy of holies. Make it splendid.
Make it the basement of the church at Bethlehem.
Make it a splendid tabernacle.
In it, find your mission. Find who you really are.
And this Lent, cast off the final vestiges of the world.
[A universal Lenten prayer (attributed to Pope Clement XI):
|Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.
Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.
I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.
I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask,
For as long as you ask,
Because you ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.
Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.
Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.
Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.
Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.
Help me to prepare for death
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.]