Post | March 2023 | Lent 2023 | 3 min read

Locusts and Wild Honey Part 2: PATH CLEARER Matthew 3:3

Written by Fra' Georg Lengerke

Dear Friends,

During Lent 2021, we offered a spiritual journey through Lent in Germany for members of the Order, their youth and its Relief Service. It was entitled "Locusts and Wild Honey" (Mt 3:4) - Fasting with John the Baptist. Through Emilie Verbeken, these weekly impulses also found their way to Belgium. Thus the idea was born to offer and publish the Lenten meditations on John the Baptist also for interested people in other countries. I thank Emelie Verbeken and Florentine Haeusgen warmly for the idea and its realization - especially for the translation from German into French and English. It would be nice if in this way our patron could help us to have a fruitful time of conversion.

To all of you a blessed Lent and renewal of soul and body,

Fra' Georg Lengerke

A "clearer" is either one who clears something away or one who clears the way. John the Baptist is both. In him, Matthew says, Isaiah's promise of a "voice of one calling in the wilderness," is fulfilled, calling out, " Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him!" (Matthew 3:3 and Isaiah 40:3)

John calls on people to prepare the way for the Lord and clear away what is still in the way of his coming to us. But there are obstacles that we ourselves cannot remove. One of these is guilt. In Luke's Gospel, it is therefore John himself who, as "prophet of the Most High [...] will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.“ How does he do this? He will " give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins". (Luke 1:76 f.)

I was fasting with some residents of the Kommende junger Malteser[1] in Munich since the evening of Ash Wednesday, abstaining from solid food. Today is the seventh day. And I notice that I am not only becoming more and more grateful for seemingly self-evident good food, but also more receptive to many things that otherwise do not reach me: sensual impressions, words, spiritual feelings and people with their concerns.

This is what Lent is for, so that I can become more accessible to God and his gifts. Consequently, fasting also means to (let me) make myself receptive to what God wants to be and give me.

John the Baptist is the one who prepares Jesus’s way. And he is also the one who makes those who seek him receptive. You can ask yourself during this Lent where and how you want to become more receptive to God and his gifts. I would like to briefly remind you of three ways in which God comes to us:

  1. God comes to us in his word and in testimony of him. If we want God to speak to us and in us, we must let him speak. In the word of Holy Scripture, in the testimony of the Church, the saints and the brothers and sisters - and in prayer: in listening, in silence, and in responding.
  2.  God comes in reconciliation and forgiveness. We will not be reconciled with God if we do not want to be with people. "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar” (4:20). Lent is "time of grace" in which we can seek and find, offer and give forgiveness: with people and with God, in conversation and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  3. God comes to us through the sister and brother in need. God meets us in every brother and sister because he has united himself with them. He meets us in Christians because they have united themselves to him. And he comes to us through those whose lives and sufferings, whose wounds and pains, whose abandonment and contempt he has made his. his is a good time to be receptive to the need of a person near me, to be there for him and to find the Lord with him, who has already taken care of his and my life's need.

John the Baptist helps us to prepare the way that God has promised to come to us in Jesus.

Fra' Georg Lengerke.

[1] The Kommende junger Malteser was founded in October 2018 as a project of the Gemeinschaft junger Malteser and the German Association of the Order of Malta. The Kommende is a residential community in the heart of Munich where young Christians want to live in friendship with each other and with God. To learn more, visit their website and read their blog entry about life in the Kommende

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