15. Manresa – Repentance – Cave
In Manresa, Iñigo’s past hit him like a sledge-hammer. He realised how concerned he had been to appear handsome and be well liked. He realised how badly he had treated many people, particularly women. He realised too that his faith had only been a show and how shallow his devotion to Christ had been. Following the spirituality of his day, he tried to make amends to God by fasting, prayer and penances which involved flogging himself. He also consciously went against his previous concerns and ignored his appearance by not cutting his hair or finger-nails.
These penances had three effects: they caused him to be sick and to have to be treated in the hospitals where he previously had tried to be of help, his unkempt appearance put people off wanting to be near him, and they brought him great desolation with suicidal thoughts.
Lord, I’ll hurl myself down deep black holes,
to resolve my bitter pain.
And I never shall come back to this world you made,
For I cannot bear this bitter pain,
I cannot bear this pain.
This dark voice echoes down my days,
I cannot break its spell,
Says I never shall make good in the world you love,
Makes instead in me my lonely hell,
it makes in me my hell.
Lord, speak to me, tell me what I must do,
since all men’s advice is vain;
Must I never return to the world you make,
Never break the meaning of this pain,
never share the truth I find?
Then his voice broke through my anxious fears,
his voice broke through to me,
‘Leave all your past, leave all your fears,
leave all your sins to me.
For I love you through to the deepest depths of you
And I need you in the world I love,
I need you in our world’.
A thought to ponder
Do you have things you look back on with shame or embarrassment, things you wish you had never done? Have you allowed God to forgive you for these things?
Scripture for the Day
As a way of praying today’s Scripture we suggest, Lectio Divina
Romans 1: 18-25 NRSVACE
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.
So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever!
Music for Today
God of Mercy and Compassion sung by the Harmonious Chorale Ghana written by E. Vaughan
Purchase more Hymns for Lent
Holy Cave Manresa
The Cave where it is believed that Ignatius prayed in Manresa is now part of a church.
The rocks form more of an overhang than a cave which give some shelter to the summer sun and the winter rains.
Photo: Manresa Centre