Popular financial advice used to include the calculations of how many pay checks separated me from the street. If I were to lose my job, how long would my resources last? How many pay checks before I would no longer be able to pay my rent and face becoming homeless? It was a call to reevaluate assumptions of financial security and make the necessary changes.
The call of Jonah to the people of Nineveh is strikingly similar, but much more profound. For the prophet reminds us that, not only our prosperity and security, but our very existence depend on the goodness of God. All of us, all of creation were made by God and are held in existence by him. Like Jonah's call to repentance, the Church's call to Lenten discipline is a call to live truly as the creatures we are, to renounce our illusions of competence, security and autonomy and embrace our dependence on our heavenly Father.
Photograph of the Abbey retreat house by Brother Brian. Excerpts from a meditation by Father William.