Enter into your Inner Room: A Lenten Invitation from Bishop Mark

In the passage of St Matthew's Gospel that we hear at the beginning of Lent, Jesus invites us "to go into your inner room" and in that place to carry out the tasks of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. It is St Ambrose, the great Bishop of Milan, who gives us the insight into what the Lord means by this "inner room", when he says, "Do not imagine that this is a room in your house made of brick and wood, but rather that room which is within you, and is with you at all times." I suppose nowadays, we might call that room, our heart, or the seat of our personality, the place where our dreams, hopes, wounds and hurts are stored up.

During Lent, Jesus invites us to visit our inner heart regularly. All that we do externally in fasting, in being good to those in need and in deepening our prayer life, has as its origin and goal, the reality of the God who abides in this inner room within us. The journey of Lent is to make our way there and to discover anew the Lord who has made his home within us.

I hope that this Lent, all of us will become increasingly aware of this 'interior' life, so that we can assist others in coming to know Jesus within their own hearts, too. I pray that your journey to your own heart is richly blessed and bears much fruit in your own life, and in the service of those around you. Throughout Lent, let us continue to pray for one another on this journey 'within'.