Reflection is something we do not do enough of in the modern world. The hustle and bustle of life often keeps us from spending time reflecting not only on the way in which we live, but life itself and all it entails. Yet it is important that we still find time for reflection in our busy lives.
Currently we are in the season of Lent in the Church. Lent finds its origins in the Latin word Quadragesima, which means “forty”. This is because it observes the period of forty days and forty nights that Jesus Christ spent in the wilderness, whereby He was tempted by Satan but never gave in. There are additional Biblical times where “forty” is significant, including the forty days Moses spent with God on Mount Sinai, the forty days and nights Elijah spent walking to Mount Horeb, and the forty days and nights of rain in the story of Noah and the Great Flood. Although there are a couple of others, I single out these particular ones for a reason; There is no doubt these times were greatly reflective in nature for those involved, a time in which they could connect more deeply with God, with their own souls, and nurture their spirituality. For Jesus especially, this was time that prepared Him for His Ministry on this Earth, given it directly predated his Ministry. And as many of us know, what Jesus would go on to do would be life-changing not only for the people that met Him, but for everyone, given His sacrifice for us.
Reflection can be an eye-opening experience. It can change the way we perceive certain things, be they things occurring in the world around us, our own relationships with others, or certain events in our lives. Too often we bypass reflection, thinking we can return to it at a later time when we are less busy. But more often than not, that simply does not happen. We get caught up in the goings-on of our daily lives and put reflective time on the backburner, until it reduces to ashes and floats away, never to be seen again. In the meantime, things start to stack up in our lives, we face daily pressures and become bogged down in the stresses of the world. We keep persisting, until we are burnt out, and then keep going some more. By this point we begin to break, our minds and bodies both becoming exhausted by all that we do. But reflection can bring us back from the brink, rebuild, rejuvenate, and re-energize us. We just have to make time for it.
Much like Jesus, many of us face temptation throughout our lives. Jesus, being pure and good, was able to do away with the temptation that the devil tried to entrap Him with. Now human beings are susceptible to temptation, corruption, and the like, considering we are unlike Jesus in that we are not completely pure. But that is why Jesus came into the world as one of us and walked among us, ultimately journeying to His death on the Cross, to save us from sin, so that we may share in the Kingdom of Heaven with Him. And while we may not be like Jesus in that we can fall victim to temptation, we are all still made in God’s own image, something which should inspire each and every one of us. Indeed, it should inspire us to make good choices, to do away with temptation like Jesus Himself did throughout those forty days in the wilderness.
Again, this comes down to choice, much like the choice we must make to take time out to reflect. Reflection can be quite spiritual in nature, allowing us to see our innermost thoughts and desires, to determine what matters most to us. It can also be incredibly uplifting and motivating. I have witnessed this in my own life. In fact, upon taking some time out to reflect on what matters to me
in my life at this very moment, I decided to make a list that I keep close by to keep me motivated. Such a list is indeed personal; However, I would like to share a few things on mine with you. At the top of the list is God and my faith, considering I can thank Him for all the good in my life. My family comes next, and I am so blessed to have them around me, supporting me throughout my journey in this world. Of course friends, both new and old, are on the list. But there are also other things on there that I know have and will continue to enrich my life, including sharing my faith with others, and indeed writing and inspiring others, just as I hope to do with this piece. That right there is reflection. It is a valuable practice that everyone should undertake throughout their lives.
Now sure, there are going to by trying times that we will all face throughout our time on Earth. That is practically guaranteed. In fact, I am sure we have all been challenged over the last year or so with all that has come with the advent of COVID-19. At times we may have found ourselves overwhelmed, grappling with restrictions, job losses, isolation, the inability to see family and friends, loneliness, and much more.
Our lives have all been thrown into chaos over the last year, but it is how we deal with this chaos that matters. It is how we deal with this chaos that will determine the direction we take. We can of course allow it to consume us, to become us, throwing our lives into a state of disarray, keeping us from achieving our hopes and dreams. Or we can stop for a few moments and spend some time reflecting on what matters most to us. We can take the time to pan through the muddied-up waters of our minds to find those valuable specks of gold that make our lives worth living and bring them to the forefront. It is up to us as individuals to put this into practice. I try to do so at least once a week, if not more. I hope this piece will encourage you to do the same, particularly now in this time of Lent, when we try to connect more with God and deepen our faith, getting back in touch with our values and beliefs, but also connecting more with ourselves and getting in touch with our hearts and souls.
Take time to reflect on what matters most in your life, and watch the light flow in.
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Joel Agius is a young Catholic Conservative writer currently studying journalism and creative writing with Griffith University. He writes on freedom, religion and the human condition, mainly focusing on the Australian and US social and political scenes. He also volunteers as a Special Religious Education teacher in State primary schools, and occasionally contributes to The Spectator. You can find him on Twitter or read his work over at his blog. If you would like to support his work, you can click here.