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Strengthen us, O Lord, by your grace, that in your might we may overcome all spiritual enemies, and with pure hearts serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Look  at this image.  What is your first impression?  Now look more deeply at this centuries-old fortress.  What especially captures your attention?  Perhaps it is the odd juxtaposition of the palm tree with the stone building.  Or the diagonals of the staircase carved into stone, or perhaps the domed turrets.  What do you see?

Reflect. This structure appears to be virtually impenetrable.  The massive stones leave no access for intruders, nor do the tiny windows.  For many of us, this may well represent a symbol of strength and permanence.  A place that can defend itself well against all sorts of attacks.  Thinking about the words of today’s Collect, focus especially on the prayer for strength.  Notice that the petition is for the kind of strength that allows us to withstand, and even overcome, the assaults that threaten our spiritual well-being.  Consider what persons or things cause your spiritual health to be in danger.

Act   Identify one situation or individual that is threatening your sense of wholeness.  Prayerfully recognize that the Divine One is the source of everything you need to be strong against this negative force.  Today accept the free gift of strength.  Then find a way to share it with another.

Thanks for taking part in New and Contrite Hearts. Your comments are very welcome—let others know what you saw and experienced. Until next time, may you have a most blessed Lent.

Music: “Ambient Sonata”  /Album:  Ambient Sonata  /Artist: Dee Yan-Key

Image:   “Cojimar Fortress”   /Place: Havana, Cuba    /Photographer: Jon Shematek