Last Sunday I've come across a beautiful metaphor for Lent—an opening of a window to one's soul.
It seems fitting that following last week's reflection about Jesus shooing away merchants from the temple, protecting it's sacredness; this week's Lent theme focuses on the next step, the searching for the light of truth...
Shortly after Jesus' encounter with the Temple merchants, He encounters Nicodemus...
Not only was Nicodemus a Pharisee (and we can appreciate how much Pharisees allegedly valued conforming to the rules of their theology and peer expectations), he was also an elder amongst his colleagues. This implied that he was under even more social pressure and expectations to conform to Pharisee law.
Understandably, Nicodemus may have wanted to avoid being seen with Jesus, whom many of his colleagues perceived with hostility. Hence, he chose to see Him in the dark of night (a fitting metaphor for how he may have felt).
The New Testament account of Nicodemus implies that he wasn't internally free—instead he handed his personal power to fear (very relatable), reputation, and social opinion. Yet, a part of him longed for something more—the light of truth...
According to a well know Polish Saint, Father Popieluszko, overcoming fear is the key to our internal process of seeking inner truth and freedom.
"Overcoming fear is a key element in the process of setting man free. Fear springs from threat. We fear suffering; we fear the loss of some goods... This fear makes us act against our conscience and it is by means of conscience that we measure truth. We overcome fear the moment we agree to lose something for the sake of higher values..."
Jesus reminds us that the responsibility for seeking the light of truth rests with ourselves.
Truth is a universal value, whether in spirituality or psychology. Mental health and personal growth is a continual process of seeking inner truth.
Connect with your inner truth via journaling
One of my favorite ways of connecting with my inner truth is through journaling.
I like to write about the most challenging experiences, in two ways...
Firstly, with awareness of how I talk to myself about them, noticing if any of my thoughts and feelings reflect old emotional patterns, or thoughts that seem distorted with excessive judgement, concern, or a lack of gratitude...
And secondly, creating an alternative perception of my challenges through anchoring my thoughts in the point of reference of truth, love, hope, and faith...
His meeting with Jesus helped Nicodemus overcome some of his fears, through inspiring him with higher values. The New Testament follows his journey as he continued to advocate for the light of truth. Nicodemus is venerated as a saint in Eastern and Catholic Churches.
I hope this inspires you to open the window to your heart even wider; and connect deeper with whatever is of value, inspiration, and meaning in your life.