This sprightly paperback follows in the train of other imaginative daily reflections on Lent by Edward Hays: The Lenten Labyrinth, The Ascent of the Mountain of God, and A Lenten Hobo Honeymoon. Here the focus is on Jesus the Healer whose prescriptions for a rounded and robust life are well worth heeding. During this 40-day annual journey for Christians, we often come face-to-face with our vices, addictions, and bad habits. That is why Hays suggests that we begin with a pinch of dust or dirt that is traced on our head in the sign of the cross; it signifies that we are inward bound on a lively and challenging adventure.
The Lenten Pharmacy abounds with fresh ideas that are healing and hopeful. For example, in addition to centering prayer, in which we strive to empty the mind to experience God in stillness, try centrifugal prayer where we keep your eyes open in order "to fill our heart, mind, and soul with the invisible Divine Presence in which we are being engulfed."
Besides being concerned about personal sins, we can ponder what Peter Gomes calls "the sins of the system" the cultural and communal rifts and dislocations caused by war, violence, injustice, and inequities. Try doing something small to attack these societal sins. Doctor Jesus always prescribed love and compassion as the best ways to align ourselves with the kingdom of God. And as "a sacred surgeon," he constantly refused to separate the spiritual from the demands of everyday life.
We loved two passages of healing wisdom from Rumi. Equally insightful is this one: "Japanese people greatly value their exquisite ceramic vases and do not throw them away when they are accidentally broken. Instead, they painstakingly glue together the broken pieces, filling the cracks with gold in a way that actually enhances the damage rather than hiding it. O blessedly happy are our sins by which we have become magnificently beautiful and by which we have been stunningly enhanced by God's golden love!"
Edward Hays is a wonderful companion for your Lenten journeys; he always manages to invent new thematic approaches to the essential rhythms of the season and constantly invigorates our imagination! The healing therapies found on these pages promote wellness in the fullest and most abundant meaning of that term. What more can you ask from a Lenten resource?