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The agony of choice

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 10 March 2013

I make bad choices. I also make good choices, but it is the bad ones that haunt me. And it is usually when I have made a bad choice that I come face to face with the reality that it was not God I was serving, but myself.

But the world is not black and white, and sometimes it is not obvious which choices are good and which are bad. Sometimes I recoil from making what evidently seems to be bad choice, only to realise later that it is the only way for life to emerge or for resurrection to occur.

Lent encourages us to hold up a mirror to our souls, to explore what it means to be human in the context of a fractured world with a God who loves us utterly. Through prayer, self-examination and faithful acts, we hold our lives open before God, allowing God’s light to illuminate them in all their broken wonder. If we embrace this revelation, our way to life is marked by death – the death of self-interest. The signposts of this way are those that John the Baptist and Jesus preached: repentance, forgiveness, obedience.

 To put it crudely, we are called to turn around, let go, listen. This is a constant process and calls for vigilance. So the next time you have a choice to make, look closely, listen deeply. Sometimes it will seem that we are being asked to choose death and it is human nature to recoil from such an option. But maybe that death is of a self-serving hope, a false assumption, a limiting conviction. If we welcome that death of self-interest, letting go into the limitless expanse of God’s love, we discover a realm of unimagined possibility, a landscape humming with divine power.

 Caroline Essex